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" No picture, no history, call present us with the whole truth : but those are the best pictures and the 
best histories which exhibit such pans of the truth as most nearly produce the effect of the whole. . . 
History has its foreground and its background ; and it is principally in the management of its perspec- 
tive that one artist differs from another. Some events must be represented on a large scale, others 
.iiiniiiished : the great majority will be lost in the dimness of the horizon ; and * general idea of their 
joint effect will be given by a few slight touches." MACAU LAY: Buay on History. 






Entered according to Act of Parliament of Canada, in the year Eighteen Hundred and Eighty-one by 
GEORGE VIRTUE, in the office of the Minister of Agriculture. 


5 Jordan Street, Toronto. 



BARON METCALFE OF FERN HILL ...................................... 


KAItL CATHCAKT ............................................. 31 



li;l:Ksr<>NSIl',l,K UOVKRNMEXT .......................................... 64 

LOKD ELGIN ......... ................................................ HI 

I. \rn.NTAINK |:\I,I>\V1N ............. ........................... 100 

GATHERING CI-Ol'DS ..................... l-'i 

REBELLION LOSSKS ........... 131 









H I XI ' KS-MO KIN 245 














" Lord Metcalfe ought not to have been sent to Canada. He waa unfit to rule twtr 
inilliiiim of intelligent British mibjecti. He had been initiated in all the arts of Indian 
'liploinacy, accustomed to the corruption and flattery, to the treachery and despotism of 
Kantfrn nabobs and rajahs, who are everything, and the mass of the people nothing. Hii 
experience had been gained in the wrong school, and he was too late in life to accommo- 
date himself to the views and wishes of men a* high-minded as himself. . . . Lord 
MrU'olfe's administration is a beacon forever to his successors." Toronto OloU, Decem- 
ber 2nd, 1845. 

HE session of 1844-'45, inclusive of the adjournment for 
the Christmas holidays, lasted four months, and was 
throughout a most trying and arduous one for the party 
in power. As has been seen, the Government were 
able to command a majority of only three in favour of 
their candidate for the Speakership. At the conclusion 
of the debate on the Address in reply to the Speech from the 
Tlirone they had a majority of six, but even this was altogether too 
small a preponderance to enable them to feel safe, and it must be 
confessed that they were compelled to carry on the business of the 
country under great disadvantages. Various devices were from time 
to time resorted to for the purpose of strengthening the ministerial 
position; but in spite of all that could be done, that position was 

10 The Last Forty Years. 

never a secure one, and Sir Charles Metcalfe was continually har- 
assed by the consciousness that his Administration was liable to 
drop to pieces upon any sudden emergency. 

The business of the session, arduous as it was, was not productive 
of much important legislation, and need not detain us long. The 
Address in reply was moved in the Assembly by Holland Mac- 
donald, member for Cornwall, on the 4th of December, and was 
seconded by Eden Colville, the new member-elect for Beauharnois. 
Mr. Baldwin moved amendments expressive of regret that the 
summoning of Parliament had been so long delayed, and that the 
ministerial offices should have remained so long unfilled. The 
debate lasted three days. The division was forty-two to thirty- 
six in favour of the original motion, which may therefore be 
said to have fairly represented the strength or weakness of 
the Government. On the 20th of the month William Benjamin 
Robinson, member for Simcoe, a brother of Chief Justice Robinson, 
accepted office in the Ministry as Inspector-General, and on the 13th 
of the following January he was reflected by his constituents. Mr. 
Draper, in the Legislative Council, defended the Governor's policy 
with all the subtlety at his command ; but as the session proceeded 
it became apparent that the valuable services of the Attorney- 
General for Upper Canada were urgently needed in the Assembly. 
No member of the Government who had a seat in that body was 
capable of assuming the leadership. The Ministers disagreed among 
themselves, and appealed from decisions of the new Speaker who 
had just been elected under their own auspices. It was evident 
that they did not enjoy the entire confidence even of their own 
party. In a word, all was disorganization on the Government side 
in the Assembly, and it was certain that if the Ministry were to be 
kept together, some ruling mind must be placed over them. Mr. 
Draper was pressed to take upon himself the leadership. He 
accordingly resigned his seat in the Legislative Council at the 

Baron Metcalfe of Fern Hill. 11 

end of January (1845), and offered himself as the representative 
of the town of London in the Assembly ; the sitting member, Law- 
rence Lawrason, having resigned in his favour. He was returned 
on the 13th of February, and at once took his seat in the House, 
where he did his utmost to reduce the turbulent spirits to,a state 
of subordination. 

But in spite of all efforts the Government continued embarrass- 
ingly weak, and evidently held on to life by a very frail tenure. All 
through the session Sir Charles Metcalfe, for the first time in his long 
public career, found himself compelled to resort to party shifts and 
expedients which were inconceivably distasteful to him. " He was 
not," says his biographer, " by nature at all a tactician ; and he had 
not been trained in the intricate manoeuvres of party warfare. It 
was not, indeed, one of the least of his annoyances at this time that 
he was compelled to sanction a departure from that open, straight- 
forward course of political conduct which he had all his life been 
steadfastly pursuing. He fell very slowly and reluctantly into the 
manoeuvring ways common to party leaders. I do not mean that 
he did or sanctioned anything incompatible with public virtue as it 
is commonly understood anything from which the most immacu- 
late party leader in Europe would have shrunk. But he was out of 
his element as a manoeuvres He felt that when he sanctioned a 
recourse even to the ordinary tactics of party, by which threatened 
'IctVats are converted into actual victories, he descended from the 
high position which he had previously occupied throughout nearly 
half a century of public service, and became, in his own estimation, 
something of a trickster."* A notable instance of this double- 
ilraling is afforded by the Government's action on a matter which 
tln> French Canadian members had very much at heart. In a 
former chapter it has been seen that the official use of the French 
language had been practically proscribed by a clause in the Union 

Knye, V,.l. II., pp. 392, 393. 

12 Tlie Last Forty Fears. 

Act, and that this proscription had been keenly felt by the Lower 
Canadians of French origin.* At the opening of the session of 
1844-'45, Mr. Lafontaine had it in contemplation to move an Address 
to the Throne, praying that the existing restrictions upon the use of 
the French language might be removed. j- His intention having 
become known, the Government resolved to propitiate the favour of 
the French Canadian members by moving the Address as a minis- 
terial measure. There were positive instructions from the Colonial 
Office to the effect that no such disingenuous proceedings should 
be resorted to by the Provincial Administration; but the Govern- 
ment's need of support was urgent, and, as Metcalfe's biographer 
naively remarks, "it was expedient to disarm the Opposition." 
Sir Charles gave his consent, and accordingly, on the 20th of 
December, Mr. Papineau, Commissioner of Crown Lands, to the 
great surprise of the Opposition, moved the Address. The motion 
was seconded by the Hon. George Moffatt, member for Montreal, 
an ultra-Tory. It was received with tumultuous applause by 
the Assembly, and the French Canadians, who knew nothing of the 
Government's tactics, were disposed to regard the motion as a 
genuine ebullition of patriotic zeal on the part of Mr. Papineau. 
The consideration of the question was postponed in order to give 
members time to deliberate upon it, but when it finally came before 
the House on the 31st of January it was carried by acclamation, 
and a select committee was appointed to prepare the Address, which 
was duly forwarded to the Colonial Office. There was no reluc- 
tance on the part of the Imperial Government to acquiesce, but 
before any action had been taken towards that end the question of 
the repeal of the Civil List established by the Union Act came 
before them. The latter was not an easy subject to deal with, 
and led to protracted negotiations. The Imperial Government did 

Ante, pp. 43,46. 

+ He had moved an Address to a similar purport during the previous session. 







Baron Metcalfe of Fern Hill 13 

not wish to go before Parliament a second time with amendments 
to the Union Act, but were desirous of embodying all requisite 
changes in one measure. Thus the question of the Address on the 
subject of the French language was for the time left in abeyance, 
and the restrictions were not actually removed until more tran two 
years afterwards. Meanwhile, however, Mr. Papineau gained much 
credit with his compatriots for his motion, which did something to 
remove from their minds the effect produced by his vote on the 

A good deal of important legislation was initiated during the 
session, but the Government were too weak to carry anything to a 
successful termination that was met by serious opposition. The 
status of the Ministry was most embarrassing, and all Mr. Draper's 
tact and ability were put forth to little purpose. Early in March he 
introduced his Bill for creating a university by the name and style 
of the University of Upper Canada. By this measure the proposed 
institution was to embrace three denominational colleges, viz., 
King's College, Toronto, for the Episcopalians ; Queen's College, 
Kingston, for the Presbyterians; and Victoria College, Cobourg, for 
the Methodists. The Bill was very similar in its scope to a measure 
which had been introduced by Mr. Baldwin during the preceding 
session, the progress of which had been stopped by the resignation 
of the Ministry. Mr. Draper now declared that he and his col- 
leagues had made up their minds to stand or fall by the measure. 
<>n the second reading it encountered such opposition that the 
mover was compelled to abandon it Several Conservatives Mr. 
Sherwood, Solicitor-General for Upper Canada, among the number 
declared on the second reading that they voted for it only to pre- 
vi-nt the Government from being defeated, and that if it came up 
for a third reading they would use all their influence against it. 

* He had of ooune voted for the Government candidate. Sir Allan MacNab, and agau^t 
his fellow-countryman, Mr. Morin. 

14 The Last Forty Years. 

Mr. Robinson, the new Inspector-General, could not tolerate some 
of the details of the Bill, and with a higher sense of his responsi- 
bilities as an adviser of the Governor than Mr. Sherwood seemed to 
entertain, he voted against the measure, and soon afterwards 
resigned his office. The other members of the Government, how- 
ever, notwithstanding Mr. Draper's positive assurance on intro- 
ducing the measure, clung to their places. They were badgered and 
baited as surely no Government in Canada ever were either before 
or since. And not without good and sufficient reason, for they 
lacked many of the qualifications by which a Government should be 
characterized. Their want of ability was not their only, or even 
their greatest, disqualification. It is to be feared that more than 
one of them had no proper idea of the moral responsibility which 
ought to attach to the position of a Minister of the Crown. Direct 
charges of attempts to corrupt members were made against Ministers 
across the floor of the House. Mr. Lafontaine declared, in so many 
words, that he was prepared to prove ministerial attempts at cor- 
ruption of members. In support of the declaration, Mr. Louis 
Bertrand, member for Rimouski, asserted that both Mr. Daly and 
Mr. Papineau had declined to accede to a request preferred by him 
on behalf of his constituency, on the ground that he, Mr. Bertrand, 
did not support the Government. It was alleged that, so far as Mr. 
Daly was concerned, his ground for refusal might have been put 
forward merely by way of joke ; though, sooth to say, a joke on 
such a subject was very uncomely in the mouth of a Cabinet 
Minister. It was not pretended, however, that Mr. Papineau had 
been jesting. He had expressly declined to do anything more for 
his compatriots, because they yielded him no Parliamentary support ; 
and he had even gone so far as to add that if he received their 
support in future he might try what more could be done for them. 
Well might the member for Rimouski reply : " What ! must we sell 
our consciences before we can obtain justice ?" 

Baron Metcalfe of Fern Hill. 15 

While the session was in progress the Governor-General received 
au official intimation that Her Majesty, upon the recommendation 
of the Imperial Government, was about to raise him to the peerage, 
and he was asked to signify by what title he would wish to be 
called to the House of Lords. As the dignity to be conferred was 
a barony, he chose his surname for a title, and in due course became 
Baron Metcalfe of Fern Hill, in the county of Berks. It was 
doubtless felt that his long public services were deserving of recog- 
nition, and it was probably hoped that the honeur thus bestowed 
upon him might impart some additional strength to his Canadian 
Government. The latter hope, if it had ever been really entertained, 
proved futile. The weakness of the Government was irremedi- 
able, and no honours conferred upon its head could galvanize 
it into even temporary vitality. As for the Governor himself, he 
was steadily sinking into his grave. His fearful malady had of 
late made rapid progress. Some months before this time a skilful 
surgeon had been specially sent out under the auspices of the 
Home Office to superintend the application of a strong preparation 
of chloride of zinc to the Governor's face. The application was 
made with all the skill which science could command, but the 
disorder had reached a stage when no treatment could be of much 
avail. To intense pain was now superadded a rapid destruction of 
tissue. One eye was totally destroyed, and the sight of the other, 
by force of sympathy, became greatly weakened. About the close 
of 1844 the sufferer found that he was no longer able to draft his 
<lrspatches, as had always been his custom. He was unable to open 
his mouth to its full width, and had difficulty in masticating his 
food. Such was his unhappy condition when the intimation of a 
peerage reached him. The intimation was accompanied by the 
kindest of letters from Sir Robert Peel and Lord Stanley, and by 
an appreciative message from the Queen herself. 

The announcement of the Governor's elevation to the peerage of 

16 The Last Forty Years. 

course aroused much interest in Canada. The Legislative Council 
voted an unanimous Address of congratulation. The matter came 
up in the Assembly on the 25th of February, when a congratula- 
tory Address was moved by Colonel Prince, and seconded by John 
P. Roblin, member for Prince Edward. It was strongly opposed by 
some members of the Opposition, and remarks were made during the 
ensuing discussion which reflected little credit upon the speakers. 
Mr. Aylwin expressed himself as being unable to congratulate 
either Sir Charles Metcalfe or the House of Lords. Sir Charles, he 
said, instead of having honours conferred upon him, ought to have 
been recalled and tried for high crimes and misdemeanors. Even 
Mr. Baldwin was betrayed into using expressions which were not 
characteristic of him. It is certainly to be borne in mind that the 
Reform party were placed in such a position that their leaders 
could hardly be expected to record a silent vote on such a motion. 
The Tory organs were iinanimous in holding up his Excellency's 
conduct to unqualified admiration, and in trying to persuade the 
world that respectable Canadians of all classes approved of his 
policy. That Baldwin, Aylwin and others should have entered 
their protest against so false a showing was natural and right 
enough, but it is to be regretted that strict moderation of language 
was not preserved, and that the discussion should have been 
unnecessarily embittered. Of course the motion was carried, but 
out of seventy members no fewer than twenty-five voted for its 

The weary, barren session came to an end at last. The prorogation 
took place on Saturday, the 29th of March. All things considered, 
the Government had little reason to congratulate itself on the work 
of the preceding four months. Of the many Acts passed, not one 
can be said to be of historical importance. The really important 
legislation which had been referred to by his Excellency at the 
opening of the session was still in the womb of time. The conduct 

Baron Metcalfe of Fern Hill. 17 

of business had been marked by chicanery and double-dealing. The 
Conservatives, as a body, had not been loyal to the Government. 
They had yielded their support in a grudging, half-hearted way,* 
and some of them had stipulated for all sorts of personal advantages 
as a condition of their support. Ministers never knew what f, day 
might bring forth. The Governor and Mr. Draper looked forward 
to another session with the most gloomy forebodings. Without Mr. 
Draper's advice and assistance the Governor must before this time 
have given up the contest with the Assembly. Mr. Draper, however, 
was chiefly valuable to the Governor by reason of his counsels, and 
not at all by reason of his Parliamentary influence, which was very 
small. The influence of the other members of the Government was 
little if at all greater. Of these facts his Excellency was perfectly 
conscious. " Mr. Draper," wrote the Governor to Lord Stanley ."f " is 
universally admitted to be the most talented man in either House 
of the Legislature, and his presence in the Legislative Assembly was 
deemed to be so essential that he resigned his seat in the Upper 
House, sacrificing his own opinions in order that he might take the 
lead in the Assembly ; nevertheless, he is not popular with the party 
that supports the Government, nor with any other, and I do not 
know that, strictly speaking, he can be said to have a single follower. 
The same may be remarked of every other member of the Executive 
Council ; and although I have much reason to be satisfied with them, 
and have no expectation of finding others who would serve Her 
Majesty better, still I do not perceive that any of them individually 
have brought much strength to the Government." But notwith- 
standing the manifold difficulties of his position; notwithstand- 
ing the daily, almost hourly physical agony to which his malady 

"The Ministers wanted weight and influence; and therefore the fupportert of the 
Government wanted union and stability." Kaye, Vol. II., p. 393. 

t See the despatch of May 13th, 184,1, in ' ' Selection! from the Paper* of Lord Metcalfe. " 
p. 465. 

18 The Last Forty Years. 

subjected him, the Governor could not bear the idea of resignation. 
He seems to have honestly brought himself to the conclusion that 
his remaining at his post was essential to the welfare of the colony 
and the empire. By what process of reasoning he had arrived at 
such a state of mind it is difficult to conjecture. The Colonial 
Secretary seems to have shared the opinion, and to have repeatedly 
urged his Excellency to persevere in the course which he had 
adopted. Such was the light which illuminated the administra- 
tion of the Colonial Office in the year of grace 1845.* 

The late spring and early summer were marked by two conflagra- 
tions in the city of Quebec which were disastrous enough to be 
regarded as matters of national importance in Canada. The first 
took place on the 28th of May, the second a month later. By the 
former, 1650 dwellings, two churches, an extensive ship-yard, and 
several lumber yards and wharfs were consumed.-)- The later con- 
flagration was more disastrous still. By these two terrible calami- 
ties a great portion of the old capital was reduced to ashes, J 
and more than 20,000 people were left houseless, penniless, and 
without food or clothing. The entire Province felt called upon 
to come forward for the relief of the sufferers. The Governor- 
General, with that large-hearted benevolence which always flowed 

"The Colonial Secretary believed he was guiding the ship into port when he wan 
running her among the breakers." The Irishman in Canada, p. 526. 

t"No human power was of any avail to arrest the conflagration; so rapid w:i- its 
advance that but little could be saved from the houses, and often life itself with difficulty ; 
many were overtaken in their flight by the flames, and perished. Many who rose in the 
morning in possession of competence, or even of comparative wealth, the fruit of many 
years of industry and economy, found themselves in a state of destitution before night 
closed upon them. A million of money will not replace, in several year*:, the value of the 
property destroyed, nor can any correct estimate be now formed of the real extent of the 
calamity." See the Address by the Corresponding Committee appointed in Quebec to 
procure aid for the suDtrers by the fire. 

t " As on the former occasion, a third part of the city has fallen a prey to the flames ; 
and Quebec, on the landward side, is reduced to limits not much larger than it possessed 
when Wolfe fell before its walls." Statement by the Bishops of Montreal and Quebec, 
published immediately after the disaster. 

Baron Mctcalfe of Fern, Hill. 19 

from him at any genuine tale of woe, personally set on foot a sub- 
scription list, and headed it himself by a munificent contribution 
of two thousand dollars. His good offices, however, were by no 
means confined to mere pecuniary assistance. He wrote urgent 
letters on the subject to friends in England, and in consequerce of 
his representations several distinguished philanthropists there were 
induced to take the matter up. Queen Victoria herself set on foot 
a scheme of relief, and not only contributed liberally from her own 
private purse, but caused charity sermons to be preached throughout 
the United Kingdom. About half a million of dollars in all were 
subscribed and sent over from Great Britain to Canada. Nor were 
our brethren across the lines deaf to the call of humanity. Acting 
upon the principle that he gives twice who gives quickly, they 
promptly sent a shipload of food and clothing which went far to 
alleviate the untold miseries of the time. Boston, New York, 
Philadelphia, and other cities and towns of the republic opened 
subscription lists, and the national press preached effective charity 
sermons from day to day. Contributions amounting in the aggre- 
gate to more than a hundred thousand dollars came to the Quebec 
sufferers from the United States. Cynics of the London clubs, who 
had not forgotten the Ashburton Treaty, remarked that Brother 
Jonathan might not know how to be just, but that he certainly knew 
how to be generous.* 

The rest of the bummer glided uneventfully by. On the 6th of 
August Mr. William Cayley, then an unknown and untried man, 
accepted the vacant office of Inspector-General, with a seat in the 
Executive Council. The appointment gave umbrage to many minis- 
terialists, and had a decidedly weakening effect upon the Government, 
which could ill endure any additional drafts upon its strength. Mr. 
Cayley did not find a seat in Parliament until more than six months 
had elapsed, when, in February, 1846, he was returned for the county 

See " The Tlk of the Town," In The EnylMman for October, 184& 

20 The Last Forty Years. 

of Huron, where Dr. Dunlop had meanwhile resigned his seat. Within 
a fortnight after Mr. Cayley's appointment, Mr. Joseph Andrew 
Taschereau, a French Canadian lawyer of considerable learning and 
ability, was induced to accept the Solicitor-Generalship for Lower 
Canada without a seat in the Cabinet. His appointment was 
confirmed by his election for the county of Dorchester, but his 
acceptance of office did not conduce to his popularity among his 
compatriots generally. 

About this time the French press of Lower Canada began to 
seriously advocate an idea which eventually came to be known as 
"the double-majority principle." The existing Government, ever 
since its formation, had been kept in power by a large Upper 
Canadian majority acting in concert with a small minority from 
Lower Canada. It was now proposed that it should be recognized 
as a vital principle of the constitution that a Government, in order 
to its continuance in power, must be sustained, not merely by a 
majority of votes in the entire Assembly, but by a majority 
of votes from each section of the Province. The object sought to 
be attained was to prevent either section of the Province from 
imposing unpalatable legislation upon the other. There were 
repeated attempts to apply this principle, but contrary to what is 
asserted in most histories of Canada it did not obtain general 
recognition until more than ten years subsequent to the date at 
which the narrative has arrived.* Even after it came into vogue 
its prevalence was of brief duration, and it was abandoned as 
impracticable. It was of course always considered desirable that a 
ministry should be able to command a majority from each section 
of the Province, but such a majority was not regarded as essential 
to the existence of an Administration. Out of this question, as will 

"Tip to the time of my leaving Canada, in 1855, no political alliance was formed on the 
prin Iple of securing majorities from the two Provinces." The Political History of Canada, 
by the Hon. Sir Francis Hincks; p. 28. 

Baron Metcalfe of Fern Hill. 21 

hereafter be seen, the agitation on the subject of " Representation 
by Population " subsequently arose. 

Both the Governor and Mr. Draper had long ceased to hope any- 
thing from Mr. Viger's efforts at conciliating his fellow-countrymen. 
It was, however, deemed absolutely necessary to gain increased 
French Canadian support. In the course of the summer ol 1845 
Mr. Draper opened a correspondence with the Hon. Rene Edouard 
Caron, Speaker of the Legislative Council, with that end in view. 
Mr. Caron seems to have been ready enough to act as an inter- 
mediary between the Government and the French Canadian leaders. 
The correspondence, which extended over several months, was 
communicated by him to Mr. Lafontaine, by whom it was again 
communicated to Mr. Morin. The Government were willing to 
sacrifice Mr. Viger and Mr. Papineau, but, so long as Lord Metcalfe 
remained at its head, it was impossible that Mr. Lafontaine could 
be admitted to the Cabinet, the differences between the latter and 
the Governor-General, ever since the resignation of the Lafontaine- 
Baldwin Ministiy, having been of such a nature that no accommoda- 
tion could reasonably be hoped for when their respective characters 
and positions were taken into consideration. Mr. Lafontaine, how- 
ever, whatever his private inclinations may have been, determined 
not to stand in the way of any arrangement which might enure 
to the common weal of his fellow-countrymen. With the dis- 
interestedness of a true patriot, he insisted on sinking his own 
claims, and thought only of the public good. But there was an 
insuperable difficulty in the way in the person of Mr. Daly. Mr. 
Caron, with the approval of Messieurs Lafontaine and Morin, 
required that the entire Lower Canadian section should be recon- 
structed, which would have involved Mr. Daly's retirement from 
office. This was more than Mr. Draper was authorized to consent 
to. Personally he would doubtless have been willing enough to 
let the Provincial Secretary go, but that gentleman had stood 

22 The Last Forty Years. 

firmly by the Governor ever since the resignation of the Lafontaine- 
Baldwin Ministry, and his Excellency would not sacrifice him. 
The negotiations were accordingly hindered and postponed from 
time to time. In reading the later correspondence between Mr. 
Lafontaine and Mr. Caron, one cannot help being struck by the 
apparent fact that neither of these gentlemen entirely trusted the 
other. That the distrust was not entirely groundless was proved 
when, as erelong happened, the entire correspondence found its way 
to the public.* The negotiations were finally broken off by Lord 
Metcalfe's departure from Canada, having come to nothing. " The 
whole affair suddenly collapsed, and the only result was to intensify 
the political atmosphere, and aggravate the quarrel between a weak 
Government and a powerful Opposition."-)- 

As for the Governor, his disorder was working frightful ravages 
upon him, and he was literally dying by inches. By the beginning 
of October his articulation began to be affected, and there was a 
hole through the cheek into the interior of the mouth. He was 
threatened with total loss of sight, and was in a condition of con- 
stant physical suffering, unless when under the influence of powerful 
narcotics. It was evident to himself, as well as to all about 
him, that " it must soon become physically impossible for him to 
administer successfully the affairs of the Government." J To persist 
any longer in his determination to " stick to the ship " was out of 
the question. On the 29th of the month he wrote to Lord Stanley, 
" I am unable to entertain company or to receive visitors, and my 
official business with public functionaries is transacted at my resi- 

* For additional light on thia somewhat curious correspondence, see a pamphlet pub- 
lished at Montreal in 1846, entitled "Correspondence between the Hon. \V. H. Draper 
and the Hon. R. E. Caron ; and between the Hon. R. E. Caron and the Honourables L. 
H. Lafontaine and A. N. Morin, referred to in a recent debate in the Legislative Assembly. 
Containing many Suppressed Letters. " 

tSee Fennings Taylor's " Portraits of British Americans," Vol. I., p. 322. 
JKaye, Vol. II., p. 418. 

i ion of the Lafontaine- 

;iot sacrifice him. 

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cm*, j .,i n ,r 

there was a 
t of the 

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>MMr (..' vocally impossible for him 

'lie ship" was ou: 
wrote t. 

r to receive visitors, a 
'Dictionaries is transacted at my r 

>ui corrapondeoQe, .w . pwnpl, 
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Baron Metcalfe of Fern Hill. 23 

donee in the country instead of the apartment assigned for that 
purpose in the public buildings in town. I am consequently con- 
cious that I am inadequately performing the duties of my office, and 
if there were time to admit of my being relieved before the setting 
in of the winter, I should think that the period had arrived when I 
might, perfectly in consistence with public duty, solicit to be 
relieved ; but as the doctors say that I cannot be removed with 
safety from this place during the winter, and as that season is fast 
approaching, it becomes a question whether I can best perform my 
duty to my country by working on at the head of the Government 
to the best of my ability until the spring, or by delivering over my 
charge to other hands, and remaining here as a private individual 
until the season may admit of my return to Europe with safety. In 
this dilemma I have hitherto abstained from submitting my formal 
resignation of my office ; and shall continue to report by each 
successive mail as to my condition and capability of carrying 
on the duties of my post." He had written to his Lordship a 
fortnight before this date, acquainting him with his sad condition, 
and before his letter of the 29th reached its destination, the Imperial 
Government, " with a full and hearty recognition of his services," 
had determined upon relieving him from the cares of office. " I need 
hardly say," wrote Lord Stanley on the 2nd of November, " that 
your administration of affairs in Canada has more than realized the 
most sanguine expectations which I had ventured to form of it ; and 
you will retire from it, whenever you retire, with the entire approval 
and the admiration of Her Majesty's Government ; and, I may ven- 
ture to add, of the Queen herself. . . I enclose you an official 
letter accepting your resignation, which you will understand me as 
authorizing you to make use of, or not, as and when you may see 
fit." He was authorized to hand over the Government provisionally 
to Earl Cathcart who had succeeded Sir Richard Jackson' as Com- 

Sir Richard died at Montreal in the month of June, 1845. 

24 The Last Forty Years. 

mander-in-Chief of the forces in British North America whenever 
he might think fit. He felt himself to be a dying man, but was 
loath to desert what he deemed to be his duty while life remained 
to him. He determined to be guided in the matter by the advice 
of his Council. During the third week in November, having 
received Lord Stanley's letter of the 2nd, he summoned the prin- 
cipal members of the Executive to a conference at Monklands. He 
explained his condition to them, and expressed his willingness to 
remain at his post if they deemed it advisable in the interests of 
the country. The Councillors, with strong traces of emotion on 
their cheeks, begged him to resign without further delay, and to 
take such rest as was possible to one in his maimed and suffering 
condition. He acted upon their advice, and made preparations for 
his immediate departure for England. Having demitted his func- 
tions to Earl Cathcart, he set out from Montreal at ten o'clock in 
the morning of Wednesday, the 26th of the month. His departure, 
as was fitting, considering his melancholy condition, was unaccom- 
panied by any conspicuous public demonstrations, although a large 
deputation, consisting of the mayor, aldermen and council of Mont- 
real and a large body of the citizens accompanied him to the place 
of his embarkation on board the Laprairie steamer Prince Albert. 
The municipal dignitaries presented him with an address, to which 
he briefly responded. He evidently felt much moved, and his 
emotion was reflected in many a countenance in the crowd. It was 
felt that loud cheers would be unseemly on such an occasion, and 
there was no open-mouthed valedictory. The streets were lined with 
the troops from the Haymarket to the wharf. His Excellency, 
accompanied by his military secretary and one of his aides, took 
what was then the usual route by way of St. John's and Lake 
Champlain to Boston, where, on the 4th of December, he embarked 
for Liverpool on board the Cunard steamer Britannia. It is sad to 
say it, but a large section of the Opposition press in Canada would 

Baron Metcalfe of Fern Hill. 25 

not let him depart in peace, lie was assailed in language which 
even such violations of the constitution as those of which he had 
been guilty did not wholly justify, and which certainly might far 
better have been left unsaid. There can be uo doubt that Lord 
Metcalfe felt these parting shafts very keenly. When subsequently 
referring to them in a conversation with his sister, he remarked 
that they had cut so deeply as to leave him neither power nor will 
to strike back.* 

His Lordship reached Liverpool on the 16th of December. He 
took up his quarters hi London, where nothing that surgical 
science and friendly sympathy could do for him was wanting. 
All that could be done, however, was very little. The terrible 
bodily anguish he endured, and the inevitable doom that lay 
before him, did not deprive him of perfect self-control. Never 
in his life had the balance of his mental equanimity been more 
admirably preserved. Quacks pestered him with letters contain- 
ing accounts of wonderful and never-failing specifics for the 
dreadful malady which held him in its grasp. Begging-letter- 
writers besieged his doors, and applications for contributions to 
all sorts of charities lay in wait for him at all hours of the 
day. With a wise and discriminating benevolence he caused 
inquiries to be instituted into the merits of all applicants, and to 
the deserving he gave from his abundance. As the weeks passed 
by, kindly-worded addresses came to him from beyond the Atlantic 
from the colony which he had left only to die. He was also the 
recipient of addresses signed by almost every distinguished man in 
the kingdom who had been concerned in the administration of East 
Indian affairs. In April it was apparent that his strength was fail- 
ing, and he quitted London to draw his last breath in the pure air of 
the country. Malshanger, a quiet country-house in the neighbour- 

Se "Lord Metcalfr'n Canadian Administration," by J. M. Towle ; Toronto, 1847; 
p. 9. 

3 2 

The Last Forty Tears. 

hood of Basingstoke, Hampshire, was taken for him, and there, in 
the society of his sister, Mrs. Smythe, he lived out the five sad months 
of life that remained to him. Sad, but not altogether sad, for down 
to his last hour he remained perfect master of himself. As the 
summer drew to a close, and he felt his end to be rapidly approach- 
ing, he sent for little Mary Higginson a child of seven years 
the daughter of the secretary who has already been mentioned in 
these pages. " I think," he remarked to the child's father, " the 
termination of my sufferings must now be close at hand. I desire 
to see Mary before it comes. Hitherto, on her account, I have 
denied myself the gratification ; but now go and fetch her to me." 
Two days later the child arrived. She remained with him a week. 
Every day during that interval, as she sat by his bedside, she read 
aloud to him from the volume which has brought comfort to so 
many sore-stricken hearts. " He received the glad tidings of 
salvation as a little child," says his biographer.* Feeling that he 
had not many more days to live, he sent the child away with her 
father, in order that she might not have the pain of being present 
at his death. Before Captain Higginson's return the end had come. 
" His mind was unclouded to the last. The serene expression of his 
countenance indicated that he was in perfect peace. The last 
sounds which reached him were the sweet strains of his sister's 
harp, rising in a hymn of praise to the Great Father, into one of the 
many mansions of whose house he believed that he was about to 
enter. 'How sweet those sounds are,' he was heard to whisper 
almost with his dying breath. He sank very gently to rest. About 
8 o'clock on the evening of the 5th of September, 1846, with a 
calm sweet smile on his long-tortured face, Charles Theophilus, first 
and last Lord Metcalfe, rendered up his soul to his Maker."-f- 

He lies in the family vault of the Metcalfes, in the parish church 

* Kaye, Vol. II., p. 443. t/6., 445. 

Baron Metcalfe of Fern 11>U. 

of Winkfield, near the estate of Fern Hill, from which he derived 
his title. The well-known epitaph, composed by Macaulay, and 
carved on a marble tablet, may be seen against the wall in the body 
of the church.* 

Having never married, he left no heir to his title, and tLe Met- 
calfe peerage became extinct at his death. 

Enough has been said, it is hoped, to render any elaborate sum- 
ming up of Lord Metcalfe's character unnecessary. The writer of 
these pages has not scrupled to comment upon the disastrous results 
of his Lordship's Canadian Administration, and to point out the 
defects of training which made him unfit to preside over the Qov- 
ernment of such a colony as our own. That he was ever sent to 
Canada is a circumstance greatly to be deplored. In his private 
capacity it is impossible to do justice to Lord Metcalfe without 
employing language of almost unstinted praise. No man ever went 
through life with better intentions, or had a more disinterested zeal 
for his country's welfare. No man was ever less of a self-seeker. 
Throughout his career he never hesitated to spend himself and his 
means for the good of his fellow-creatures. During the two years 
and eight months which elapsed between the time of his arrival in 
Canada and his departure, scarcely a week elapsed which was not 
signalized by some liberal benefaction on his part. Said Egerton 

This epitaph cannot be silently passed over with due regard to historical truth. 
Monumental inscriptions are seldom to be implicitly depended upon, and this one is not 
more accurate than the common run of such productions. It is said that 

" In Canada, not yet recovered from the calamities of civil war, 

He reconciled contending factions 
To each other, and to the mother country." 

It is simple historic justice to say that he did nothing of the kind. On the contrary, he 
itreatly embittered "contending factions " against each other. Upon his arrival he found 
|arty-fceling very much quieted down. The quieting prooew had been going on during 
the whole of Sir Charles Bagot's tenure of office. Metcalfe not only revived old hostilities, 
but brought about a ferocity of party-strife such as had never existed before bis inter- 
ference in Canadian affairs. 

28 Tit* Last Forty Years. 

Ryerson, in one of the famous letters already referred to, " He is not 
a fortune-seeker, but a fortune-spender." He contributed to the 
building of churches, to the erection of almshouses, to innumerable 
public charities, and to every good enterprise which was submitted 
to him. He had not been a fortnight in Canada when he thus wrote 
home to his sister : " My establishment will be larger and more 
expensive than it was in Jamaica. My official income is less. And 
as there it was not sufficient without aid from my private fortune, I 
must of course expect the same will be the case here, to a larger 
extent. This, however, is a matter of little consequence ; and I wish 
that all others could be as easily managed."* Upon this principle 
he acted throughout the whole term of his Administration. In 
numberless instances he did not his alms before men, and scarcely 
permitted his left hand to know what his right hand did. Scores 
of his private charities have never come to light. A notable 
instance of his generosity has been made public by the recipient 
himself. Students of Upper Canadian history are familiar with 
the name of Colonel James Fitz Gibbon, who rendered efficient 
services to Sir Francis Head during the rebellion, and who wearied 
successive Administrations by repeated applications for pecuniary 
aid. Upon Sir Charles Metcalfe's arrival he found a recent applica- 
tion from the Colonel, together with other papers bearing upon his 
claims. His Excellency at once inquired into the merits of the case. 
He found that Colonel Fitz Gibbon had indeed rendered valuable 
services, but that he had received considerable recompense in one 
shape and another, and that there was no special reason why Gov- 
ernment should make further grants. Sir Charles found, however, 
that the Colonel was really a gallant and deserving man, who stood 
greatly in need of assistance, and he determined to grant him aid 
out of his own purse. " I received," says Colonel Fitz Gibbon, " a 
note from Mr. Secretary Higginson, saying that his Excellency 

Kaye, Vol. II., p. 327. 

Baron Metcalfe of Fern HUl. 29 

desired to see me. On presenting myself he told me that he had 
submitted to the Executive Council my application for an advance, 
and that they declined to advise him to make it ' But,' added his 
Excellency, ' name to me a sum of money sufficient to relieve you 
from your most pressing emergencies, and I will advance it to you 
out of my own funds.' Surprised at this offer for his Excellency 
had arrived but a few days before, and was, as yet, a stranger in the 
Province I paused and said, ' Your Excellency's offer is so unexpected 
that, for a moment, I know not what sum to name ; but it humbles 
me to have to tell your Excellency that last week a baker stopped 
his issue of bread to my family because I could not make immediate 
payment;' and I stated another fact which I will not mention here 
because its publication would wound the too sensitive mind of the 
person to whom it referred. After another pause I continued, ' If 
your Excellency will advance me one hundred pounds, it may be 
enough to keep me from severe pressure until the next session.' 
Whereupon he said, ' From the view I have taken of your case I do 
not think that sum enough.' Still more surprised I again paused, 
and said, Then I will say two hundred pounds, but I will go no 
further ; ' and the following morning I received a cheque for two 
hundred pounds."* Such was Sir Charles Metcalfe 's princely way of 
dispensing charity. To Captain Higginson, whose official salary 
was only three hundred pounds a year, he granted a thousand pounds 
a year additional out of his own resources. At least half a score of 
almost equally conspicuous private benefactions might be mentioned 
as having signalized his residence in Canada. In the face of such 
truths as these, one can readily accept the statement of his biographer 
that " they who approached him the most nearly, who lived in the 
most familiar intercourse with him, and were admitted the most 
intimately within the influence of the habitual tenderness of his 

* See " An Appeal to the People of the late Province of Upper Canada," by Ji 
Flte," p. 50 (Montreal, 1847). 

30 The Last Forty Years. 

nature and playfulness of his spirit were those not only to lavish 
upon him the truest love, but to regard him with the most genuine 
admiration."* The faults of his Canadian Administration, after 
all, were faults for which it is scarcely fair to hold him deeply 
responsible, for the dispensing of Responsible Government was a 
thing foreign to his nature and training, and his instructions from 
the Home Office were of a kind rather to confuse than to assist him. 
It was not consciously that he struck so heavy a blow against 
freedom, and in apportioning the blame which attaches to the trans- 
action it is simple justice to bear in mind that he believed himself to 
be acting, not only within his strict constitutional rights, but for the 
lasting peace and welfare of the colony and the empire. Taking 
even the least charitable view of the conduct which marked his 
administration of our affairs, it stands out as a solitary blot upon 
an otherwise fair and stainless escutcheon, and we may well say of 
him, as Prince Henry said of the brave Percy : 

" Thy ignomy sleep with thee in the grave, 
But not remember'd in thy epitaph." 

Kaye, Vol. II., p. 463. 


" Ai a general thing, military governors are not wanted in Canada. Sir John Colborne 
and Sir Francis Head gave u two more than we needed. The peculiar circumstance* of 
the present time, however, render a military governor of wisdom and experience, like Lord 
Cathcart, not only acceptable but desirable." CANADIAN, in the Morning Chronicle. 

HE Right Honourable Charles Murray Cathcart, Earl 
Cathcart, Lieutenant-GeneraV etc., etc., upon whom, as 
the senior military officer commanding Her Majesty's 
Forces in British North America, the administration of 
Canadian affairs devolved upon Lord Metcalfe's departure, 
was the representative of an old and highly distinguished 
Scottish family. Sir Allan Cathcart, who bore the burden of the 
family honours in 1447, was ennobled in that year by King James 
the Second, who created him Baron Cathcart in the peerage of 
Scotland. The Baron's descendants have ever since been conspicu- 
ous members of the national aristocracy. One of them fell at 
Flodden in 1513; another on the field of Pinkie, in 1547. From 
the time of the union between England and Scotland down to the 
present there has been no important war involving the honour and 
arms of Great Britain in which a Cathcart has not borne a distin- 
guished part. In 1807 the tenth Baron was Commander-in-Chief 
of the expedition to Copenhagen. Upon his return he was created 
Viscount Cathcart and Baron Greenock in the peerage of Great 
Britain. In 1814 he was advanced to an earldom. The future 
Governor-General of Canada was his second son, and was born at 

The Last Forty Years. 

Waltham, in the county of Essex, England, in 1783. As a boy he 
spent some time at Eton, but adopted the family profession of arms 
at an early age. It is no exaggeration to say of him that he added 
to the laurels of his ancestors. In 1799, when he was only fifteen, he 
formed part of the expedition to North Holland. He served under 
his father at Copenhagen in 1807, and subsequently fought his way 
all through the Peninsular War. At Barossa, Salamanca, Vittoria, 
and finally at Waterloo, he distinguished himself by deeds of valour, 
as well as by other high soldierly qualities, and stood high in the 
favour of the Great Duke. At Waterloo he had three horses 
shot under him, and on the same memorable day he bore the 
Marquis of Anglesea from the field in his arms when that noble- 
man received the wound which rendered necessary the ampu- 
tation of his leg. He had by this time attained to the rank 
of a Colonel. For several years subsequent to the great battle 
he served with the army of occupation in France, and during 
that period received various honours and decorations, both British 
and foreign, including a Companionship of the Bath. There is no 
need for following him minutely through his subsequent career. 
Upon the death of his father, in 1843, he succeeded to the title as 
second Earl, his elder brother known by courtesy as Lord Greenock 
having died without issue during his father's lifetime. Upon 
the death of Sir Richard Jackson in the summer of 1845, Earl 
Cathcart, who had by this time attained the military rank of a 
Lieutenant-General, was appointed to succeed him, and came over 
to Canada accordingly. He had not been many months in the 
country ere Lord Metcalfe's departure compelled him to take upon 
himself the direction of affairs. He was sworn into office as Admin- 
istrator, and assumed the reins of Government on the 2Gth of 
November, the day when Lord Metcalfe started on his homeward 
journey, as narrated in the last chapter. 

It was at first supposed that Lord Cathcart's assumption of the 

Earl Cathcart. 

Administration was a mere temporary expedient until a successor to 
Lord Metcalfe should be appointed. The day of military governors 
was over, and it was not pretended that Lord Cathcart had any 
special fitness for discharging the functions of a civil administrator. 
Various rumours were afloat in Canadian political circles o the 
subject of Lord Metcalfe's successor. For a short time it was 
believed apparently without any grounds whatever that the Earl 
of St. Germans had solicited and obtained the appointment. Another 
equally well-founded report hailed Sir Henry Pottinger, whose civil 
experience, such as it was, had been gained at Hong Kong, as the 
coining man. The English mail which reached Canada about the 
end of January, however, brought definite intelligence on the 
subject of the Governor-Generalship. The appointment, in a word, 
was formally offered to Lord Cathcart, who at once signified his 
acceptance of it. Her Majesty's pleasure was conveyed to his Lord- 
ship in very complimentary terms, and he was officially assured 
that the uniting in his person of the civil and military authority was 
the result of no accidental combination of circumstances, but of a 
mature and deliberate conviction of his high qualifications for the 
iiilministration of both. Notwithstanding this assurance, a belief 
began to gain ground that the Imperial Government had resolved 
to retain Lord Cathcart here in consequence of the relations 
between Great Britain and the United States having again become 
unsatisfactory. Rumours of war had once more become rife, and 
an unsettled, uncomfortable feeling pervaded the public mind. Th< 
causes which led to this ominous state of affairs will be explained in 
the following chapter. In the event of an actual rupture between 
the two nations it was of course highly desirable that one possessing 
tin- military knowledge and experience of Earl Cathcart should be 
at the head of affairs in Canada. That this was really the view taken 
by the authorities at home soon became evident enough. In the 
following April Earl Cathcart received his commission as Governor- 

:14> The Last Forty Years. 

General.* Meanwhile, however, his Lordship, in his capacity of 
Administrator, summoned the Houses to meet on the 20th of March, 
on which day the second session of the Second Parliament accord- 
ingly assembled at Montreal for the despatch of business. 

In the Speech from the Throne his Lordship informed the 
Houses that he had been designated as Her Majesty's future repre- 
sentative in the Province. Regret was expressed at the painful 
cause which had led to Lord Metcalfe's departure from Canada, and 
it was said that his Lordship had discharged the duties of his station 
with a zeal and ability that had on every occasion won for him " the 
highest approbation of his Sovereign, and the respect and gratitude 
of the people over whom he presided as her representative." The 
reorganization of the militia was strongly urged upon the considera- 
tion of the Houses, and they were informed that the unsettled state 
of the negotiations between the Imperial Government and the United 
States rendered such a reorganization imperative. " I feel," said 
his Excellency, "the most unbounded confidence that the loyalty 
and patriotism of every class of Her Majesty's subjects in Cana>ln 
will be conspicuous, as they have been heretofore, should occasion 
call for their services to aid in the protection of their country ; but 
a well-digested and uniform system is indispensable to give a fitting 
direction to the most zealous efforts. At the same time I feel 
warranted in assuring you that, while our gracious Sovereign will 
ever rely on the free and loyal attachment of her Canadian people 
for the defence of this Province and the maintenance of British 
connection, Her Majesty will be prepared, as her predecessors have 
always been, to provide with promptitude and energy corresponding 
with the power and resources of the Empire for the security of Her 
North American dominions." These very pertinent remarks were 
followed by a reference to the Civil List, as to which the Houses 

* His commission bears date the 16th of March. 

Earl Catlicart. 35 

were recommended to make such provision as to justify the Imperial 
Parliament in making the requisite amendments to the Union Act. 
The recent change in the commercial policy of the empire was also 
glanced at, but only very briefly, as it was not yet known in Canada 
how much was involved in the change. The Corn Law Bill, jthen 
depending in the Imperial Parliament, had at this time passed its 
second reading only, and various opinions prevailed in Canada as 
to the merits of that measure, and as to how far the anti-protection 
t'lvling would go. 

The resolutions in reply to the Speech were moved in the Legis- 
lative Council by the Hon. John Neilson, and seconded by the Hon. 
Barthelemi Joliette, on Monday, the 23rd. They were not permitted 
to pass without opposition. Mr. De BouchBrville* declined to con- 
gratulate Earl Cathcart on his appointment, upon the ground that 
his Lordship was a member of the military profession, and that 
Lord Durham had recommended in his report that a civilian, and 
not a soldier, should have the direction of Canadian affairs. He 
further objected to the expressions of regret at the removal of Lord 
Metcalfe. The Hon. James Morris followed in the same strain. 
The Hon. Adam Ferrie took exception to the absence from the 
Speech of any reference to the subject of King's College. The 
resolutions, however, were finally put and passed seriatim, and the 
Address founded thereupon was reported and adopted. In the 
Assembly, the resolutions on which to found an Address in reply 
were moved by Colonel Prince and seconded by Mr. De Bleury. 
The Liberal party, as a whole, were of course unable to concur in 
the eulogistic remarks on Lord Metcalfe, and Mr. Baldwin moved an 
amendment in which those remarks were omitted, though no excep- 
tion was taken to the expression of regret at the calamity which had 
been the direct cause of his Lordship's retirement. The motion was 

* Mr. De Boucherville had been appointed to the legislative Council just before the 
opening of the leuion of 1843. 

The Last Forty Years. 

seconded by Mr. Aylwin, who, in the course of his remarks, in- 
dulged in many caustic allusions to the President of the Council, 
"Mr. Viger, whom he censured with much vehemence for retaining his 
seat in the Cabinet for so long a time without obtaining a seat in 
either branch of the Legislature. Mr. Viger replied at considerable 
length, his remarks being chiefly directed to indiscriminate eulogy 
of the character and policy of the late Governor. The debate lasted 
throughout the day, Messieurs Cauchon, Cameron, Gowan, Chauveau, 
Nelson, Boulton, John Sandfield Macdonald and others taking part 
in it. When the vote was taken the amendment was defeated by a 
majority of sixteen, the ayes being twenty-seven and the noes 

As the session advanced, however, it became evident that the 
vote on the Address afforded no indication of the actual strength of 
the Government. Several ministerial measures introduced at vari- 
ous times were actually defeated, and in one instance by a consider- 
able majority. There was, however, no pretence of resignation on 
the part of the Ministry. They were afraid, as during the previous 
session, to introduce any legislation likely to arouse strong opposi- 
tion, and only did so when such a course could not be avoided. 
Fortunately for them, several important measures introduced under 
ministerial auspices were of a character which commended them to 
the general approval of the Assembly. Such especially were the 
Militia Bill and the Act respecting the Civil List. The former was 
acceptable owing to the threatening aspect of affairs between the 
mother country and the United States. The latter was popular 
because it was a long step in the direction of Canadian self-govern- 
ment. The subject had already engaged the attention of the 
Canadian Parliament more than once since the Union, and the Act 
was the result of correspondence entered into between Sir Charles 
Metcalfe and the Secretary of State prior to the rupture between 
the former and his Government in 143. The desirable object 

Earl Catluurt. :\7 

sought to be attained was the establishment of a permanent 
Civil List for the payment of public functionaries, in place of 
that imposed by the Imperial Parliament in the Union Act. The 
latter had provided a Civil List which, although in accordance with 
the conditions agreed to by the Upper Canadian Legislature and 
the Special Council of Lower Canada, was held by the Liberal 
party to be unconstitutional. It was finally agreed that the 
United Parliament should vote a Civil List. After considerable dis- 
cussion as to matters of detail the Bill was passed, but it was of course 
reserved for the signification of Her Majesty's pleasure. The sequel 
may as well be told here. Owing to the repugnance between the Bill 
and the Act of Union, it was not competent for Her Majesty to as*. -nt 
to the former without the express authority of the Imperial Parlia- 
ment. An Act was accordingly passed* in 1847 to enable her to 
assent, and the Canadian measure of 1846 became the law of the 
land. From that time forward the Provincial Parliament alone 
had authority to impose taxes upon the Canadian people. 

During the third week of the session Mr. Lafontaine laid before 
the Assembly the correspondence already referred to as having 
taken place between Attorney-General Draper, the Hon. R E. 
Caron, and himself. Mr. Caron had given a very reluctant consent 
to Mr. Lafontaine's making the circumstances public in this way, 
and he soon afterwards published the correspondence himself in 
pamphlet form, both in English and French, f The matter formed 
the subject of a very warm debate, and Mr. Lafontaine was strongly 
censured by the ministerialists for bringing the matter thus publicly 
before the country. The only effect of its introduction was to 
embarrass the Ministry, and to lead to doubts on the part of the 

See Imperial Statute 10 and 11 Vic., cap. 71, intituled " An Act to authorize Her 
Majesty to assent to a certain Bill of the Legislative Council and Assembly of Canada 
for granting a Civil List to Her Majesty, and to repeal certain parts of an Act for 
reuniting the Provinces of Upper and Lower Canada, and for the liovernment of Canada. " 

i Ante, p. 22, note. 

38 The Last Forty Years. 

French members as to Mr. Draper's sincerity in opening the corres- 
pondence. Mr. Viger felt his position very keenly,* though he 
claimed to have been cognizant of the proposed arrangement, and 
to have been willing to resign his office. There were references 
also to the Attorney-General for Lower Canada, and to the Com- 
missioner of Crown Lands, which must have been far from palatable 
to those gentlemen. 

As the weeks passed by, and as it became more and more evident 
that the Corn Law Bill would receive the sanction of the Imperial 
Parliament, a pretty general feeling of alarm and hostility to that 
measure was aroused in the bosom of the mercantile community in 
Canada. At public meetings held in Montreal and Quebec, "Cobden 
and the League" were denounced in no stinted terms. It was 
feared lest the proposed abolition of the differential duties on the 
importation of colonial and foreign grain into Great Britain would, 
if carried out, give a serious if not a fatal blow to Canadian pros- 
perity. Canada, it was said, could not hope to compete with the 
United States if the British market was made equally free to both. 
The solicitude on this subject found expression in an address to the 
Queen, agreed to by the Assembly on the 12th of May, and for- 
warded to the Home Government by the next mail. It was 
received by the Colonial Secretary-f while the debate on the famous 
Bill was actually in progress. The argument from the protectionist 
side was presented with remarkable clearness. " We cannot but 
fear," ran the Address, "that the abandonment of this protective 
principle, the very basis of the colonial commercial system, is not 
only calculated materially to retard the agricultural improvement 

* One of Mr. Draper's letters to Mr. Caron contained a reference to Mr. Viger in the 
following language : " 1 will not conceal from you . . that I have long viewed his 
[Mr. Vigor's] retirement from the position he occupies as essential to the strengthening 
of the Government. The mode of effecting it is another consideration." See letter of 
November 19th. 

t Mr. Gladstone, who had succeeded Lord Stanley. 

Earl Cathcart. 3!) 

of the country, and check its hitherto rising prosperity, but seriously 
to impair our ability to purchase the manufactured goods of Great 
Britain ; a result alike prejudicial to this colony and the parent 
state. . . We respectfully represent to your Majesty that, situated 
as Canada is, and with a climate so severe as to leave barelyone- 
half of the year open for intercourse by the St Lawrence with the 
mother country, the cost of transporting her products to market is 
much greater than is paid by the inhabitants of the United States ; 
and that without a measure of protection, or some equivalent 
advantage, we cannot successfully compete with that country." The 
most gloomy consequences were foreshadowed in subsequent clauses, 
and there can be no doubt that Canadian merchants generally were 
thoroughly alarmed. Even those and their number was very 
small in the year 1846 who professed faith in the general principles 
of free-trade, could not see how their interests could fail to suffer, 
however greatly the British manufacturer might be benefited by 
the change. Of course the obnoxious measure passed, and the 
gloomy forebodings of the petitioners were not realized, but there 
was for a time a very disturbed state of feeling in Canadian com- 
mercial circles, and perhaps a certain weakening of patriotic senti- 
ment, even on the part of colonists who had always been conspicuous 
for loyalty. 

Among other important public measures passed during the session 
were an Act to amend the Upper Canada School Act of 1843 ; an 
Act amending an Act of the previous session respecting elemen- 
tary education in Lower Canada ; an Act to amend the Bankrupt 
Laws ; and an Act respecting improvements in the Gulf of St. Law- 
rence. The session extended over eleven weeks, and was brought 
to a close on the 9th of June. Earl Cathcart, not only during 
the sitting of Parliament, but throughout the entire term of his 
Administration, displayed a wise discretion in interfering as little 
as possible in civil affairs. He kept a watchful eye upon the 

40 The Last Forty Years. 

military forces, and introduced some important reforms among the 
troops. He kept entirely aloof from the disputes of the rival 
political parties, and confined himself to formally administering 
such functions as necessarily came within his province as Governor- 

Six days after the close of the session all danger of immediate 
complications with the United States came to an end. On the 
15th of June the Oregon Treaty was signed at Washington, and 
another vexed question was set at rest for a time. 


15y the Ashburton Treat) we gave up one-half of the territory in dispute, but by the 
flext Treaty the Oregon Treaty we gave up the whole. In both case*, Canada reminds 
11- ..f a rabbit or a dog in the hands of an experimental anatomist. Like animals doomed 
to vivisection for the benefit of science, she has been operated upon unsparingly for the 
good of the Empire. Diplomatic doctors, in constantly recurring succession, have given 
her up, and given her over. She has been the victim of an endless exhibition of Treaties, 
applied allopathically, and then, by force of counter-irritants, has been treated nigh unto 
death." QUHKH or DIPLOMACY ; a Paper read before the Literary and Scientific Society 
of Ottawa, January 22nd, 1874, by Lieut -CoL Coffin.* 

t- F what precise nature was this cloud, considerably larger 

than a man's hand, which for some time prior to 1846 had 

gradually been overshadowing the diplomatic relations 
^SQjjft* between Great Britain and the United States ; which had 
"- v '.-. srvi-ral times srriiu-il to In- (in the ]>i>int of 1 air^i in-_ f . aii-l 

thereby overwhelming Canada in an inundating and at 
least temporarily desolating flood ? 

In the tenth chapter of this work a ch-ipter devoted to an 
exposition of the Ashburton Treaty it has been seen that the 
boundary between the British possessions and the United States 
to the west of the Rocky Mountains did not form a subject 
of negotiation between Lord Ashburton and Daniel Webster in 

That boundary had long been a theme for diplomacy 

* This paper, which was published at Montreal in pamphlet form in 1874, was reprinted, 
with some modification*, in the Canadian Monthly for May, 1876, under the title of 
"' How Treaty-Making unmade Canada." See ante, p. 210, note. 

1 4n/,. p. 20&, 
1 _ 

48 The Last Forty Year*. 

between the two nations directly concerned, and if wise counsels had 
prevailed it would have been settled once for all during the early 
years of the century. Twenty years before the signing of the 
Ashburton Treaty the Oregon boundary had produced so great a 
feeling of irritation in England that Lord Castlereagh had told 
Mr. Rush, the American Minister in London, that war could be pro- 
duced by the holding up of a finger. Happily the occasion passed 
by without any elevation of the portentous finger, and the public 
in both countries were permitted for a brief season to forget or 
ignore the ground of dispute. From time to time, however, " the 
Oregon question " continued to disturb the harmony of international 
relations, and scarcely was the Ashburton Treaty ratified ere the 
clamour burst forth in the United States with greater vehemence 
than ever before. There was much swagger and loud talk, 
which might well be taken simply for what they were worth, but 
beneath and behind them were the exigencies of the Democratic 
party, and at the time of Lord Metcalfe's departure from Canada 
the alternative apparently lay between an immediate peaceful 
settlement and " grim-visag'd war." It is worth while to review 
the historical aspect of the question. 

The country known at the present day by the name of Oregon is 
merely one of the Pacific States of the American Union, with an 
area of about 95,000 square miles. But at the period when " the 
Oregon territory " firat became the subject of international dispute 
it consisted of an immense tract, embracing the entire region extend- 
ing from the Rocky Mountains on the east to the Pacific Ocean on 
the west, and from a line adjacent to the Russian possessions on 
the north to 42 north latitude on the south. So far as can now 
be ascertained, the first European to set foot upon the territui \- 
enclosed within the limits above specified was that " bold discoverer 
in an unknown sea," Sir Francis Drake, who, in the year 1578, 
landed a short distance to the northward of the present site of 

The Oregon Bounda.'ry. 43 

Sac Francisco. He took nominal possession in the name of his 
sovereign, Queen Elizabeth, and erected a pillar to commemorate 
that event. He christened the land New Albion, by which name it 
continued to be called by writers and geographers for considerably 
more than two hundred years.* So far, then, as priority of tftle can 
be conferred by priority of discovery, the title of England was per- 
fect ; for, although several enterprising Spanish navigators had pre- 
ceded Sir Francis Drake into the Pacific Ocean, none of them had 
penetrated so far north as latitude 42. How far Sir Francis sailed 
northward during this voyage has been disputed, but there seems 
good reason for believing that he coasted as far as 48.f A suc- 
cession of Spaniards, and other navigators in the Spanish service, 
followed in his track. It was at one time alleged on behalf of 
Spain that a mariner named Ferrelo had coasted to nearly the 43rd 
degree of latitude so early as 1543, but the account of his voyage 
is not well authenticated, and it is not even pretended that he went 
ashore. In any case, such rights of ownership as attach to early 
discovery were confined to England and Spain, no other nation 
having any shadow of claim whatever. 

But discovery alone has been held not to confer a complete title 
in such a case. There must be something in the way of settlement 
before a claim can be set up which other nations are bound to 

* " This barren sovereignty was soon forgotten, but the name of JWw Albion remained ; 
.in. I it was not till about 1832 that it began, as Mr. Greenhow tells us, to be called Oregon, 
from a name vaguely attributed by Carver, in his Travels (published 1778), to some 'Great 
Kiu-r in the West,' which had been recently, and without any better authority that we 
an .Uncover, applied to the Columbia." Quarterly Review, Vol. LXXVIL, p. 869. The 
Mr. (iriM-nhow referred to was an American author who wrote several works relating to 
tin' Oregon territory. 

t "There has been a vast deal of controversy raised by the Americans on this point ; they 
that Prike reached no higher than 43, instead of 48* ; and this because one 
anonymous account of hi* voyage, interpolated into Hakluyt, says 43 by, probably, an 
error of the press or the copyist, while the authentic account published from the notes of 
Drake's chaplain, by his nephew, and repeated by all hi companions and contemporaries, 
gives the true rt-.i.liin: of \*."~ Quarterly Rrmetc, Vi.l. L.XXVIF., p. 5691 

44 The Last Forty Years. 

respect ; and neither Spain nor England took any steps towards 
settling the remote and savage land until more than two hundred 
years after Drake's discovery. There can be no doubt that any 
other nation might legitimately have settled and claimed it during 
the interval. As matter of fact, however, no such settlement or 
claim was made. 

There is no authentic record of any voyage having been made by 
Spanish explorers between the years 1640 and 1774. In the year 
last named one Juan Perez, a Spaniard, sailed from San Bias, on the 
western coast of Mexico, and, standing out to sea, proceeded north- 
ward, and approached the land in latitude 55 north. It is presumed 
that he discovered the spot subsequently named by Captain Cook 
Nootka Sound. He did not go ashore, being prevented by tem- 
pestuous weather. No account of this voyage was given to the 
world until 1802, so that the Spanish Government " deprived itself 
of the means of establishing beyond question the claim of Perez to 
the discovery." * In 1775 the Spanish Government sent out an 
expedition consisting of two vessels, the Santiago and the Senora, 
under the command respectively of Don Bruno Heceta and one 
Ayala. After the expedition had started, Ayala was succeeded iu 
the command by Don Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra, and 
soon afterwards the two vessels parted company. Bodega proceeded 
as far north as 58, and surveyed the coast of what is now Alaska. 
Heceta advanced as far north as 49 30', and then turned back. On 
the 15th of August, having, as he said, reached latitude 46 17', he 
noticed an opening in the coast, from which issued a current so strong 
as to prevent him from entering. Being convinced from this fact 
that the opening was the mouth of some great river, he set down his 
assumption on his chart, naming the supposed stream the Rio St. 

See "The History <>( Oregon and California, and the other Territories on the North- 

\V, - <Vi,t ,,f Ani'Ti.'a." P.y U'.IiiTt < ii-.'.-nV.w, I :V :;ri.iu t" tin- IVji.-irtiufiit "f tlic 
United States. Boston. 18M. P. 117 

The Oregon Boundary. 45 

Roc. It was in reality the mouth of the Columbia river, and this, 
so far as is known, is the first intimation of its existence. Spain, 
however, being either timorous or jealous, preserved a rigid silence 
as to the voyages of Bodega and Heceta, as she had previously done 
with respect to the voyage of Perez. It is worth while* to note 
that the correct latitude of the mouth of the Columbia is 46 10' 
and not 46 17'. so that Heceta was somewhat out in his reckoning. 
In 1778 Captain James Cook explored the west coast of North 
America on behalf of Great Britain, and made the first important 
survey of the shore of New Albion. He made the coast in latitn.1 
44 north on the 7th of March. Proceeding northward he passed 
the mouth of the Columbia without perceiving it. He entered 
Nootka Sound, and bestowed upon it its name. It would be tedious 
and uuinstructive to chronicle the subsequent voyages made by 
English and Spanish navigators along the Pacific coast. By degrees 
a certain amount of trade in furs and other commodities sprang up 
between English and Spanish merchants and the natives on the 
coast and on the neighbouring islands. Ten years after Captain 
Cook's visit Nootka Sound had become a sort of rendezvous for 
vessels engaged in trade hereabouts. The English were especially 
enterprising, and began to establish trading stations. This was 
displeasing to the Spanish Government, who determined to put 
a stop to British operations in that part of the world. Nootka 
s, nmd was farther north than Drake had penetrated, and Spain 
accordingly claimed authority over it by virtue of the alleged dis- 
covery by Perez in 1774. But, even admitting the discovery of 
Perez, it had not been proclaimed to the world, nor had it been 
followed by settlement It was therefore no bar to the enter- 
prise of other nations. Spain, however, appears to have enter- 
tained a contrary opinion. She carried matters with a high hand, 
and seized several British vessels at Nootka. Great Britain of 
course demanded restoration and reparation, nod her demands were 

46 The Last Forty Years. 

ultimately complied with. There is no necessity for pursuing the 
history of maritime exploration any farther, nor for discussing the 
rival claims of the two countries. Such rights as they possessed 
were settled by what is known as the Nootka Convention, the result 
of which was a treaty signed at the Escurial on the 28th of October 
1790. By the third article of this treaty it was agreed that the 
respective subjects of the contracting parties should not be molested 
in navigating or carrying on their fisheries in the Pacific Ocean or 
in the South Seas, or in landing on the coasts of those seas, in places 
not already occupied, for the purpose of conducting their commerce 
with the natives of the country, or of making settlements there. 
The right of the British Government to make settlements was thus 
established with suflicient distinctness,* and from that time forward 
Spain made no serious attempts at settlement within the limits of 
New Albion. It is therefore not extravagant to infer that the 
country was abandoned by Spain in favour of Great Britain. 

So far, then, as to the respective claims of Spain and Great 
Britain. No other nation was interested in the question, or claimed 
any right to interfere in it.f 

By the treaty ratified at Paris on the 3rd of September, 1783, 

" This convention was an admission of the right of the British Government to make 
settlements, and the right sanctioned is not to be distinguished from that of Russia to its 
settlements on the north-west coast. The admission of this right was not granted as a 
license, liable to be revoked or lost by a war it was not made as a favour or concession. 
It is one of those agreements respecting territory such, for instance, as the treaty of 1783, 
made between Great Britain and the United States which a war does not revoke. The 
a.lraission contained in the convention is of a principle to which the States of America, 
the colony of Canada and the State of Louisiana, owe their existence. No new doctrine was 
net up. An old-established rule was recognized, and a war would have been the result if 
it had continued to be contested." See "The Oregon Question ; or, A Statement of the 
I'.ritish Claims to the Oregon Territory, in Opposition to the Pretensions of the Govern- 
ment of the United States of America ; with a Chronological Table and a Map of the 
Territory." By Thomas Falconer, Esq., Barrister-at-Law, of Lincoln's Inn, member of 
the Royal Geographical Society, etc. New York (reprint), 1845 ; p. 17. 

f " A no other power then laid any claim to the territory, or protested against this mode 
at dividing it, their respective rights, thus limited and defined, were good against the 
world." North Amerirnn Rerino, Vol. I.XII., p. 237. 

The Oregon Boundary. 47 

between Great Britain and the United States, whereby the inde- 
pendence of the latter was confirmed, the northwestern, western and 
southern boundary-line of " the new nation " was indicated as " a line 
through the middle of Lake Erie until it arrives at the water 
communication between that lake and Lake Huron ; thence along 
the middle of the said water communication into the Lake Huron ; 
thence through the middle of the said lake to the water communi- 
cation between that lake and Lake Superior ; thence through Lake 
Superior, northward of the Isles Royal and Philipeaux, to the Long 
Lake ; thence through the middle of the Long Lake and the water 
between it and the Lake of the Woods, to the Lake of the Woods ; 
11 1. -nee through the said lake to the most northwestern point 
thereof ; and from thence, on a due west course, to the River 
Mississippi ; thence by a line drawn along the middle of the said 
Iliver Mississippi, until it shall intersect the northernmost part of 
the 31st degree of north latitude south, by a line to be drawn due 
east from the determination of the line last mentioned in the lati- 
tude 31 degrees north of the equator to the middle of River Apala- 
chicola or Catahouche; thence along the middle thereof to its 
junction with the Flint River ; thence straight to the head of the 
St. Mary's River, and thence along the middle of the St. Mary's 
River to the Atlantic Ocean." 

No geographer of the present day needs to be informed that the 
I.DUiularv thus indicated was an impossible one, inasmuch as the 
head waters of the Mississippi River are south of the Lake of the 
\V. mils, and, consequently, a line carried due west from the lake 
would not touch the river. What was evidently intended, how- 
ever, was that the boundary should lie at the place where the 
Mississippi, if it had had its rise farther to the north, would have 
ii intersected by a line running due west from the Lake of the 
\V,.o,ls. The only concern we have with this erroneous boundary 

"But nothing west or north of this line was granted by Gret Britain to the United 

4,8 The Last Forty Years. 

is to show that the United States acquired no rights over the 
Oregon territory by virtue of the treaty of 1783. 

On the 6th of January, 1791, Captain Vancouver, a British officer, 
sailed from Deptford, in the Discovery, for the northwest coast of 
America, to take possession of Nootka Sound under the first 
article of the convention with Spain of the previous year. 
Having reached the west coast he proceeded very deliberately, 
making such surveys as he deemed advisable. On the 27th of 
April, 1792, he was off the mouth of what was afterwards called 
the Columbia river, but he had no idea of the proximity of a 
stream of such dimensions. He could perceive from the colour 
of the water that some stream entered the ocean there, but it 
did not appear to him to be large enough to admit of his enter- 
ing it in a vessel of the size of the Discovery, so he continued 
his course to the northward. Two days later he encountered the 
United States ship Columbia, from Boston, commanded by Captain 
Robert Gray. The latter informed him that he, Gray, had been off 
the mouth of a river in latitude 46 10' , " where the outset or reflux 
was so strong as to prevent his entering it for nine days." This was 
the mouth of the identical stream passed by the Discovery on the 
27th. Vancouver was under special instructions to look out for 
" considerable inlets " and " large rivers,"* and ought to have had the 
wisdom to turn back on the strength of Captain Gray's information. 
He did not do so, however, but continued his course northward. 
On the 4th of June, having reached his original destination, he took 
possession, with the usual formalities, "of all that part of New 
Albion from the latitude 39 20' to the entrance of the inlet of the 
sea said to be the supposed Strait of Juan de Fuca, as also of all 

States in 1783, nnd nothing north of the head waters of the Mississippi was retained by 
France under the treaty of 1703." See "The Oregon Treaty," etc., ubi supra, p. 7- 

* See " A Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean and Round the World, in 
which the Coast of Northwest America ha- l>cen carefully examined and accurately g'.;r- 
vycV' etc., etc., by George Vancouver. London, 1798 ; Vol. I., p. 61. 

The Oreyon Boundary. 49 

the coasts, islands, etc., within the said strait and both its shor 
Meanwhile Captain Gray had returned to the mouth of the great 
stream into which he had in vain essayed to find an entrance before. 
This time he was more successful. At daybreak on the llth of May 
he ran his ship through the breakers, anil ascended the estuary pf the 
river about ten miles. This is almost certainly the first instance 
of that stream having been entered by civilized man.* He sub- 
sequently proceeded a few miles farther up the river, but "having 
taken the wrong channel," he could ascend no higher, and after a 
few days spent in filling his water-casks and trading with the 
natives he returned to the Pacific, having first bestowed upon the 
river the name of his vessel, which it has ever since borne. 

Vancouver, with his vessel, returned to the spot in the following 
October, accompanied by Lieutenant Broughton, in the Cluitluim,^ 
which was considerably smaller than the Discovery. The latter 
\v;is unable to enter the river, but the Chatham, with Lieutenant 
Broughton, made her way in on the 20th of the month. In an 
interior angle of the harbour Broughton encountered the Jenny, of 
Bristol, under the command of Captain James Baker, who had been 
detained there by the state of the weather and the difficulties of 
exit for several weeks. Baker claimed to have been there earlier 
in the year. The pretence afterwards set up, however, that he had 
entered the mouth of the river before Captain Gray, has long since 
been given up. Lieutenant Broughton took his vessel consider- 
ably farther up stream than Gray had been, and then, finding the 
navigation intricate, anchored and took to his boats, wherein he 
ascended nearly a hundred miles farther. He "took possessiin" 
of the country in the name of his Sovereign, and " with the consent 
of the natives." 

* dee " The Oregon Question Kxamined, in reipect t<> Facts and the Law of Nation-, ; " 
by Truvera Twiss, D.C.L., F.R.S. ; London, 1846; i 

fBroiiKhton, with the Chatham, hail accompanied Vancouver from Knt,lnd, and *ornn/; 
part of the expedition. 

50 Tlie Last Forty Yearn. 

It is thus clear that the discovery of the Columbia river was 
progressive. " Heceta noticed the discoloured water of the sea ; 
. . Vancouver noticed the river outside the bar ; Gray noticed the 
river within the bar ; and Broughton explored both the bay and the 

So much for exploration from the sea-board. But there were 
also explorations from the landward side. In 1768, Captain Jonathan 
Carver, a native of Stillwater, Connecticut, and a British subject 
explored the upper waters of the Missouri, and bestowed the Indian 
name of Oregon upon some great river in the west.~f No very strong 
claim, however, can be established on the strength of Carver's 
expedition. In 1792-'93 Mr. (afterwards Sir) Alexander Mac- 
kenzie, a Scottish Canadian and an officer of the North-West Fur 
Company, made the first overland journey to the Pacific. He 
discovered the stream now called Fraser's river, and so far as can 
now be ascertained was the first white man to make any con- 
siderable exploration of the Oregon Territory. In 1800 Mr. David 
Thompson, of Montreal, a geological and geographical surveyor and 
astronomer in the employ of the Hudson's Bay Company, crossed 
the Rocky Mountains in latitude 51 north, and descended one of 
the great northern branches of the Columbia. Seven years later, 
having meanwhile transferred his services to the North-West Com- 
pany, he established a fortified trading-post near the source of the 
Columbia ; and within the next two or three years he established 
several other trading-posts on the main stream and some of its 
branches. One of the earliest and most important of the post? 
established by Thompson was on a sheet of water called Fraser'i 

The first overland expedition on ti * part of the United States 
was that of Captains Ixiwis and Clarke, who were commissioned in 
1805 by President Jefferson "to explore the river Missouri, and its 

Wrtmin*Ur Review, Vol. XLV., p. 4X1. tAntt, p. 43, note. 

The Oregon Boundary. 81 

principal branches, and then to seek and trace to ite termination 
some stream, whether the Columbia, the Oregon, the Colorado, or 
any other which might offer the most direct water communication 
across the continent for the purpose of commerce." They crossed 
the Rocky Mountains, and in due course struck a branch of the 
ColuiiiKia, which they followed to its confluence with the main 
vttvam, and thence proceeded downward to the Pacific. In 1808 a 
M issouri Company established a post on one of the tributaries of the 
Columbia, but were soon compelled to abandon it, owing to the 
hostility of the Indians and the difficulty of obtaining supplies. In 
1810 a great fur company was formed under the auspices of John 
Jacob Astor, of New York. During the following year they estab- 
lished a post at the mouth of the Columbia, on the south bank. In 
honour of Mr. Astor this post was named Astoria. The company 
consisted of ten persons, six of whom were subjects of Great Britain. 
The latter were assured by the British representative at Washington 
that th'-y would be respected as British subjects and merchants in 
case of war. When David Thompson visited Astoria in July, 1811, 
he found the British flag flying there. In 1813 the company sold 
out to the (British) North- West Company, and towards the close of 
that year a British marine officer, acting under orders from his 
Government, took possession of the post in the name of the King, 
:m'l hoisted the British ensign.* 

In LSI 5, after the close of the war between Great Britain and the 
Unitod States, application was made by the Government of the 
latter to that of the former for *he restoration of Astoria under the 
first article of the Treaty of Ghent, by which it was agreed that all 
territory, places and possessions whatsoever taken by either party 
from the other during the war, except certain islands, should bt 
without delay. To this demand Great Britain replied that 

Great Britain and the United State* were then at war, and the tale of Astoria to 
British subjects wa effected for the purpose of preventing it from being captured. 

52 The Last Forty Years. 

Astoria did not come within the article of the treaty, that post never 
having been captured. It had simply been sold to the North-Wi->t 
Company, and the vendors had vacated the place under a distinct 
agreement of sale. The post, however, was very foolishly sur- 
rendered to the United States, upon the understanding that the 
question of the title to the territory should be discussed in the 
negotiation on limits and other matters, which was soon to be 

On the question of discovery and occupation from overland, then, 
we find that " the expedition of Mackenzie was the first made by 
civilized men through the country west of the Rocky Mountains ; 
and the settlement made by Thompson, on Fraser's Lake, was the 
first settlement or post of any kind made by British subjects, or by 
civilized men, west of the same mountains." -f These explorations 
undoubtedly gave Great Britain a title to certain territory, but the 
difficulty was to know precisely what territory. To how much 
land could she lay claim ? There is no precise rule as to definite 
limits where the land discovered and settled upon forms part of 
a vast continent. The question was doubtless an embarrassing one ; 
but it was surely plain enough that Great Britain, by right of the 
explorations and settlements of Mackenzie and Thompson, could 
justly claim some title to the country watered by the Columbia river. 

In 1803 the United States purchased Louisiana from France for 
the sum of $11,000,000. The territory so purchased included all 
lands "on the east side of the Mississippi River not then belonging 
to the United States, as far as the great chain of mountains which 

" Was ever such a position taken up by the Government of a nation having the least 
pretence to power or self-esteem ? And how could it be wondered at that after this the 
Americans have really brought themselves to believe that they have a just and rightful 
claim to the territory in dispute." "The Oregon Question: A Glance at the respective 
claims of Great Britain and the United States to the territory in disnnfe." Bv G. v 
Ruxton, Esq. ; London, 1840; p. 2-. 

t Wntminiter Review, Vol. XLY., p. 4i 

Oregon Boundary. 

divide the waters running into the Pacific and those falling into the 
Atlantic Ocean ; and from the said chain of mountains to the Pacific 
Ocean, between the territory claimed by Great Britain on the one 
side and by Spain on the other." * There was no indication as to 
where the boundary-line from the chain of mountains was to,begin, 
nor as to where the land " between the territory claimed by Great 
Britain on the one side and by Spain on the other " was to be 

By the Florida Treaty, signed at Washington on the 22nd of 
February, 1819, Spain ceded to the United States all her rights and 
claims to the country lying west of the Rocky Mountains. The 
western boundary was fixed at the River Sabine to the 32nd degree 
of latitude ; thence due north to the Rio Roxo or the Red River of 
Nachitoches ; thence westward along this river to the degree longi- 
tude 100 west from London (? Greenwich) and 23 from Washington ; 
thence due north to the River Arkansas ; thence to its source in 42 
latitude ; or if the source is north or south of latitude 42, along a 
line due north or south until it meets the parallel of latitude 4.2 ; 
and thence along this parallel to the Pacific. "Thus," says Mr. 
Falconer, " was the undefined line from the Rocky Mountains to 
the Pacific inserted in the agreement for the purchase of Louisiana 
converted into a defined line." J 

Such, divested of a multitudinous array of more or less congruous 
facts, are the principal grounds upon which Great Britain and the 
I "nited States respectively laid claim to the Oregon territory. It 
will be seen that the question was by no means free from ambiguity ; 

"History of the Federal Government," by Alden Bradford, LL.D., Editor of the 
Masuchuwlto State Paper*. Boston, 1840, p. 130. 

" France had nothing to sell but what constituted Louisiana after the cession made to 
Great Britain in 17G3. There was nevertheless Inserted in this treaty of tale a reference 
to a perfectly undefined line to the Pacific having no defined point of commencement, and 
referring to territory having no definable boundary either on the north, or the south, or 
the east." See " The Oregon Question," by Thomas Falconer, ufci supra, p. 7. 

: /'.. P. a. 

54 Tke Last Forty Years. 

that neither party could lay claim to an absolute title to the whole, 
and that something approaching to a case might be made out for 
either or both. Each claimed the territory by right of prior discovery, 
and also by right of prior occupation. Britain's claim to discovery 
was by virtue of Drake's early explorations, and on the strength of 
those of Cook, Vancouver, Broughton, Mackenzie, Thompson and 
others. Her claim on the strength of prior occupation and settle- 
ment arose out of the posts established by the Hudson's Bay and 
North- West Company's officers. The United States answered 
these claims by alleging that Drake was a mere pirate, and that 
in any case his discovery was not followed by settlement ; that 
at the time of the Nootka Convention Spain had at least equal 
rights with those of Great Britain in respect of the disputed 
territory ; that she had retained those rights, and only admitted 
Great Britain's participation therein ; that Spain had subsequently, 
by the Treaty of Florida, placed the United States in the same 
position as that in which she herself had previously been ; that 
the explorations of Gray by seaboard and of Lewis and Clarke by 
land entitled them to claim by right of discovery on their own 
account, and that the founding of Astoria gave them a right by 
virtue of prior occupation. They also contended that their pur- 
chase of Louisiana from France gave them additional rights 
although as simple matter of fact Louisiana had never extended 
beyond the Rocky Mountains. Some of the grounds of claim made 
on behalf of the United States were utterly absurd and inconsistent 
with each other. 

The only thing standing out as a clear fact is that this Oregon 
question was essentially a matter for compromise. As such Great 
Britain was always prepared to regard it. Precisely how much of the 
territory, whether on the coast or inland, was to be apportioned to 
each claimant was manifestly not to be decided by any well-settled 
principles of international law. The settlement must evidently be 

The Oreyn Boundary. V 

arbitrary. Should it be by force of arms or by peaceable 
negotiation ? 

The latter method was repeatedly resorted to. On the 20th of 
October, 1818, a treaty was ratified between Great Britain and the 
United States whereby it was agreed that the 49th parallel of lati- 
tude should be the boundary from the Lake of the Woods to the 
Rocky Mountains, and that the country westward of the Rocky 
Mountains should be free and open for the term of ten years from 
the date of the convention to the vessels, citizens, and subjects of 
both powers, without prejudice to the claims of either country. 
The question by this time was practically narrowed down to the 
ownership of the territory lying between the mouth of the Columbia 
and the 49th parallel. Certain cantankerous citizens of the republic 
repudiated this curtailment of the ground of discussion, and denied 
the right of Great Britain to maintain any foothold whatever on 
this continent to the west of the Rocky Mountains; but the 
United States, as a nation, did not at that date endorse such 
an absurdity. As for Great Britain, she believed herself to be 
entitled to claim the territory as far south as latitude 42, but did 
not deem it worth while to complicate the discussion by rigidly 
insisting upon the uttermost rood. The great river seemed to be a 
natural boundary, and it would give her all that was essential to 
tin- <liif maintenance of her sovereignty and prosperity on the 
Pacific. Actuated by this spirit of liberality, she in 1824 pro- 
posed " an equitable compromise " viz., that the boundary between 
the two countries west of the Rocky Mountains should be the 49th 
parallel of latitude from the mountains to the north-eastern branch 
of the Columbia river, called in that part of its course McGillivray's 
river ; thence along the middle of that stream to the main body of 
the Columbia; thence along the middle of the Columbia to the 
Pacific the navigation of the river remaining perpetually free 
to both nations. "This proposition had the advantage of giving 

56 The Last Forty Years. 

effect to the strongest local claims of both parties: it left to 
England the Upper Columbia, which she had first explored ; it 
gave to the United States Clarke's and Lewis's rivers, which 
they had first explored ; and it divided between them the Lower 
Columbia and the estuary, including Astoria, where Gray, and 
Broughton, and Thompson, and Lewis had all partial claims of dis- 
covery and exploration."* This proposal, though " it gave to the 
Americans the larger and richer half of the territory ,"f was rejected, 
as it gave them no harbour. Two years later Britain improved 
on her former proposal, and paid due respect to the desire of the 
United States for a harbour. She submitted the following terms 
of accommodation : " That, considering that the possession of a 
safe and commodious post on the north-west coast of America, 
fitted for the reception of large ships, may be an object of great 
interest and importance to the United States, and that no such port 
is to be found between the 42nd degree of latitude and the Co- 
lumbia river, Great Britain, in still adhering to that river as a basis, 
is willing so far to modify her former proposal as to concede, as 
far as she is concerned, to the United States the possession of Port 
Discovery, a most valuable harbour on the southern coast of De 
Fuca's inlet ; and to annex thereto all that tract of country com- 
prised within a line to be drawn from Cape Flattery along the 
southern shore of De Fuca's Inlet to Point Wilson, at the north- 
western extremity of Admiralty Inlet ; from therice along the wes- 
tern shore of that inlet, across the entrance of Hood's Inlet, to the 
point of land forming the north-eastern extremity of the said inlet ; 
from thence along the eastern shore of that inlet to the extremity 
i it' the same ; from thence direct to the southern point of Gray's 
Harbour; from thence along the shore of the Pacific to Cape 
Flattery, as before mentioned." This proposal met with no better 
fate than its predecessor. It was briefly " declined with thanks." 

* Quarterly Review, Vol. LXXVII., pp. 695, 596. 
+ " C^uirka of Diplomacy, " nil xipra f. 15 

The Oregon Boundary. 57 

Negotiations were from time to time renewed, but no mutually 
satisfactory arrangement was arrived at. On the 6th of August, 
1827, another treaty was concluded, whereby the period of ten years 
mentioned in the treaty of 1818 was indefinitely extended, with the 
stipulation that either party might terminate the arrangement by 
giving to the other twelve months' notice. Occasional attempts to 
bring the matter to a final settlement were still made, but nothing 
came of them. The Ashburton Treaty left the subject precisely 
where it was. 

During the year 1813 a Bill for the occupation and military 
organization of Oregon was brought before the Congress of the 
United States, and it was therein set forth that " the title of the 
United States to the territory of Oregon is certain, and will not be 
abandoned." The Bill, after strong opposition, passed the Senate, 
but when it reached the House of Representatives it had to be 
abandoned for the time, owing to an adverse report of the Com- 
mittee on Foreign Affairs. Meanwhile a considerable stream of. 
emigration began to flow into the disputed territory from the 
Eastern States, and the national pretensions began to perceptibly 
enlarge. President Tyler, in his Message to Congress in Decem- 
ber, 1843, laid claim, on behalf of the United States, to the 
entire territory on the Pacific lying between 42 and 54 40'. In 
1844, Mr. Pakenham, British Minister at Washington, had numer- 
ous conferences on the subject with John C. Calhoun, Secretary of 
State to the republic. A great deal of official correspondence 
passed between them, and the claims on each side were very fully 
stated, but no definite agreement could be arrived at. In August 
the following proposal was formally made by the British Minister: 
" Whereas the proposals made on both sides in the course of the 
last negotiation have been mutually declined, Her Majesty's Govern- 
ment are prepared, in addition to what has already been offered on 
tin- part of Great Britain, and in proof of their earnest desire to 

58 The Last Forty Years. 

arrive at an arrangement suitable to the interests and wishes of 
both parties, to undertake to make free to the United States any 
port or ports which the United States Government may desire either 
on the mainland, or on Vancouver's Island, south of latitude 49th 
degree." This was declined by Mr. Calhoun on the ground that " it 
would have the effect of restricting the possessions of the United 
States to limits far more circumscribed than their claims clearly 
entitle them to." 

On the 4th of March, 1845, James K. Polk was " inaugurated " as 
President of the United States. Mr. Polk was a Democrat, and had 
simply been elected to do the bidding of his party. Among the 
most conspicuous planks in the platform of that party were the 
maintenance or extension of slavery and territorial aggrandisement. 
Texas had already been coerced into seeking admission into the 
Union, and the conquest of Mexico had been brought prominently 
forward by the " southern chivalry." They now clamoured loudly 
for Oregon, claiming the entire territory from 42 to 54 40'. 
" They riled and they raged," says Colonel Coffin, " and gave vent to 
the national wrath in the fell alliteration of 'fifty-four forty or 
fight.' "* President Polk, in his inaugural address, declared that the 
title of the United States to the Oregon country was clear and 
unquestionable. " Already," he added, " are our people preparing 
to perfect that title by occupying it, with their wives and children." 
A short time after, in the course of a public speech, he declared that 
the republic knew what its rights were with respect to Oregon, and 
that it intended to maintain them, by force if necessary, agaiast 
the arbitrary pretensions of Great Britain. Such a speech as this, 
from the mouth of the Chief Magistrate, and made entirely with- 
out provocation, was simply a diplomatic outrage. Sir Robert 
Peel referred to it in the House of Commons, and expressed his 

See "Quirks of Diplomacy," p. 13. 

Th* Oregon Boundary. 59 

deep regret that such a reference should have been made in a 
tone and temper which were not likely to lead to an amicable and 
equitable settlement of the differences between the two countries. 
" We trust still to arrive at an amicable adjustment of the differences 
between ourselves and the United States," said Sir Robert ; ' but if, 
after having exhausted every effort to effect that settlement, our 
rights should be invaded, we are resolved and prepared to maintain 
them." * 

By this time the party in power in the United States had 
thrown all suggestions of compromise to the winds, and coolly 
proposed that the boundary-line should be " 54 40' or nowhere." 
Mr. Polk, however so Mr. Buchanan, the new Secretary of State, 
declared to the British Ministry felt himself bound to some extent 
by the acts of his predecessors, otherwise he would have terminated 
the negotiations at once, and have demanded the entire country up 
to 54 40'. As it was, Mr. Buchanan was authorized to offer the 
49th parallel as a boundary from the Rocky Mountains to the 
Pacific. He at the same time offered to make free to Great Britain 
any port or ports on Vancouver Island which she might desire south 
of latitude 49. 

It was now Great Britain's turn to refuse, which she did in courtly 
ami diplomatic language through the medium of Mr. Pakenham. 
The last proposal was then withdrawn, and it was understood 
that the President had finally made up his mind to claim the entire 
territory from California to the Russian possessions. Such was the 
state of affairs at the beginning of the year 1846. 

The prospect was ominous indeed. Preliminary preparations were 
quietly made on both sides, and in both countries was there a strong 
war party. The national proclivities displayed themselves most 
characteristically. The amount of bombast and buncombe to which 
spread-eagle America gave utterance during the closing months of 

Hansard, Vol. I . X X X I .. Col. 199. 

60 77ie Last Forty Years. 

1845 and the early months of 1846 passed all calculation.* It 
seemed as though the lurid flames of war were inevitable. In 
Canada the solicitude was great, but not greater than was called 
for by the occasion. The wisdom displayed by the Imperial Gov- 
ernment in retaining Earl Cathcart at the head of affairs in this 
country was now apparent. Military preparations were quietly 
made under his Excellency's auspices, and the efficiency of the local 
militia under the new Act was greatly increased. 

In Her Majesty's Speech at the opening of the Imperial Parlia- 
ment on the 22nd of January, 1846, there was an expression of 
regret that the conflicting claims of Great Britain and the United 
States in respect of the territory on the northwest coast of America 
still remained unsettled. It was added that no effort consistent 
with national honour should be wanting on the part of Her Majesty 
to bring the question to an early and peaceful termination. When 
the report of the Speech reached America the Congress of the United 
States was in session, and an almost interminable debate was the 
result. A resolution was finally passed by both Houses authorizing 
the President at his discretion to give notice to the British Govern- 
ment of the abrogation of the joint occupancy under the treaty of 

* The following, taken from a report of the proceedings in the House of Kepresenta- 
tives at Washington, will serve as a specimen. The "oratory" proceeded from Sir. 
Kennedy, of Indiana : "The march of your people is onward, and it is westward ; that is 
their destiny. They are going onward to the Paci&c ; and if in the path which leads there 
the British lion shall lay him down, shall we on that account be craven to our duty and 
our destiny ? No, never. The American eagle will stick his claws into the nose of the 
lion, and make his blood spout like a whale. This, too, is inevitable destiny. The 
British may make pretensions to Oregon, but rights they have none. Do we not want it ? 
Yes, and we must have it. We want it to hold our people. Yes, Sir, and I will tell you 
another thing. The American multiplication table is at work. Go into our Western 
cabins, and you will find a young man of six feet, and all the rest of him in proportion, 
with a companion not much less than himself, and round their feet you will find a little 
company of twenty children. Ay, Sir, that is the American multiplication table. Ami 
now do you take our present numbers, and reckon twenty for every two, and where do 
you think we shall find hunting ground for them ? I tell you we must have Oregon. Tho 
multitude of the West is demanding it at our hands, and they must have it." 

Oregon Boundary. Cl 

1827. This resolution, had it been abrupt, and unaccompanied by 
any qualifying clause, might almost have been regarded as offensive 
by Great Britain. Fortunately, notwithstanding the oratory of 
General Cass and others who seemed determined to bring about 
war, the influence of the moderate party prevailed. The resolution 
was qualified by a preamble reciting that the step was taken in 
order that the attention of the Governments of both countries might 
be more earnestly directed to the adoption of all proper measures 
for the speedy and amicable adjustment of the dispute, "and that 
said territory may no longer than need be remain subject to the 
evil consequences of the divided allegiance of its American and 
British population, and of the confusion and conflict of national 
jurisdictions dangerous to the cherished peace and good understand- 
ing of the two countries." The tone of this preamble being mild, 
and even amicable, was responded to by Great Britain in a like 
mood. The Earl of Aberdeen, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, 
determined to make one more effort at a friendly compromise. 
Having matured a proposal he transmitted it to the British Minister 
at Washington, with instructions to submit it to the President 
without loss of time. Somewhat to the surprise of the British 
public, who had about made up their minds that the quarrel would 
have to be settled by the strong hand, the proposal was accepted by 
Mr. Polk and ratified by the Senate with very unusual alacrity. 
And well indeed it might be, for it yielded everything of import- 
ance for which Great Britain had been contending for nearly thirty 
years. The matter might have been settled on a similar basis long 
before, for the Government of the United States were never really 
disposed to seriously urge a claim to any territory north of the 
49th parallel. The treaty, as has been seen, was signed on the 15th 
of June. By the first article it was agreed that " From the point on 
the 49th parallel of north latitude, where the boundary, laid down 
in existing treaties and conventions between Great Britain and the 

The Last Forty Years. 

United States, terminates, the line of boundary between the terri- 
tories of Her Britannic Majesty and those of the United States shall 
be continued westward along the said 49th parallel of north lati- 
tude to the middle of the channel which separates the Continent 
from Vancouver Island, and thence, southerly, through the middle 
of the said channel and of Fuca's Straits to the Pacific Ocean. 
Provided, however, that the navigation of the whole of the said 
channel and straits, south of the 49th parallel of north latitude, 
remain free and open to both parties." By the second article the 
navigation of the Columbia and its great northern branch from the 
49th parallel to the ocean was declared "free and open to the 
Hudson's Bay Company and to all British subjects trading with the 
same." By the third article the possessory rights of the Hudson's 
Bay Company and all other British subjects to land previously 
acquired by them south of the 49th parallel were preserved. 

And this was all that Britain took under the treaty. The United 
States can hardly be blamed for accepting what was voluntarily 
offered to them ; but there can be no sort of doubt that they had 
all along been demanding territory to which they had no claim, and 
that they now received more than an equitable arbitration would 
have awarded to them. Lord Aberdeen doubtless attached little 
importance to this wild land beyond the remote confines of civil- 
ization, as it was then regarded. He was desirous of settling the 
dispute on almost any terms before going out of office. A firmer 
diplomacy would have secured additional respect at Washington for 
British statesmanship, and would also have secured for Canada a 
more southerly boundary-line on the Pacific coast. For years 
afterwards American statesmen, with a jocular affectation of mag- 
nanimity, pretended to pique themselves on the national disinter- 
estedness in waiving their claim to the extension of the 49th parallel 
across Vancouver Island.* 

"In after discussions, t^t American Commissioner, Campbell, a man of shrewd wit 

The Oregon Boundary. 63 

It was supposed that this long-contested boundary question, 
which had periodically disturbed the councils of the two nations for 
about thirty years, was finally adjusted. The hope was fallacious. 
A quarter of a century later another treaty became necessary, and 
the offices of the German Emperor had to be called into requisition 
For the time, however, the vexed question was set at rest The 
announcement of the concluding of the Oregon Treaty was made 
by Sir Robert Peel in the House of Commons, and by Lord Aber- 
deen in the Upper House, on the 29th of June. On the same day 
Sir Robert Peel's conversion to Free Trade principles sealed his 
political doom, and his Administration came to an end. A week 
later a Whig Ministry was formed under the auspices of Lord John 
Russell, with Earl Grey* as Colonial Secretary. 

and tharp practice, dwelt loftily and long on the disinterestedness of America in this 
matter of ' swapping armour,' the gold of Glaucus against the brass of Diomed and 
about 270,750 square miles of the El Dorado of the Northern Paci6c, compensated by a 
touch of Vancouver cement, laid on with a camel-hair paint brush." See "Quirks of 
Diplomacy," p. 16. 

'The eldest son anil successor of the statesman whose name is identified with th 
Reform Bill of 1832, and who diet! in 1843. 


" Perhaps the most instructive commentary on the part assumed by Lord Metcalfe IB 
the controversy, and on the principle on which he sought to govern the Province, is found 
in the state of the Province since the accession of Mr. Draper to power. In some sense 
the country has, for the last two years, been without a Government. For nearly a year 
the affairs of nearly two millions of people were almost exclusively in the hands of a not 
very harmonious triumvirate. Since the dissolution of the Cabinet of which Mr. Baldwin 
was the head, the Government has never been in a state of complete and efficient organ- 
ization. The Cabinet has been constructed and reconstructed, dismantled and patched up 
again, to the disgust of many in the Province, and to the amusement and edification of 
others. . . With a Government in a state of virtual dismemberment, the affairs of 
the Province cannot be, as they are not, in a very promising condition. The Government 
remains in power without a party on which to rest." MONTREAL LETTIB ON CANADIAN 
AFFAIRS, dated August 13th, 1846, and published in the London Morning Chronicle of 
September 1st. 

S has already been recorded, the Parliamentary session of 
1846 came to an end on the 9th of June. A week later Mr. 
Viger succumbed to the pressure which had steadily been 
brought to bear upon him for some months previously, and 
quietly demitted his place of President of the Executive 
Council With his retirement from office his active politi- 
cal career may be said to have ended, though he for some years after- 
wards continued to sit in the Legislative Council, and occasionally 
made his presence felt there. One cannot contemplate Mr. Vigor's 
public life subsequent to the Union without regret. He had a 4 ; one 
time been the idol of his fellow-countrymen, and had stood second 
only to Louis Joseph Papineau in their regards. His acceptance 
of office in Sir Charles Metcalfe's Administration was a great dis- 

Irresponsible Oovernment. 65 

appointment to the great body of French Canadians, and a serious 
political blunder on his own part. From that time forward his 
voice failed to charm, and his influence ceased to be of much 
account.* And while he did irreparable injury to himself, he 
altogether failed to impart any strength to the Government which 
he sought to serve. He had been accepted as a representative 
French Canadian, and it was soon apparent that he had ceased to be 
regarded in that light by his compatriots. He himself was the very 
last to acknowledge that his sceptre had departed from him, and 
that his name was no longer a conjuror's wand in his native Province. 
Long after he had ceased to exercise any appreciable influence over 
his compatriots he was wont to refer to that influence with a simple- 
hearted self-complacency which showed how utterly he failed to 
realize his true position. His defeat in Richelieu by Dr. Nelson was 
the tirst event which tended to open his eyes, and from that time he 
seems to have in great measure lost the mental elasticity which had 
always been characteristic of him. For some months prior to his 
resignation he gave but little attention to his official duties. The 
most important function appertaining to the Presidency that of 
examining and reporting upon all matters laid before the Council 
was discharged by Mr. Morris, the Receiver-General. As it will 
probably be unnecessary to make any further extended reference to 
Mr. Viger in the course of this work, the subsequent events of his 
life may as well be briefly noted here. After his retirement from the 
Ministry he continued to represent the town of Three Rivers until 
the close of the Second Parliament In February, 1848, he was 
called by Lord Elgin to the Legislative Council. For some yean 

" Loin d'avoir aoquh de la gloire et de 1'entimo dans u carriers ministerielle, M. Vigtt 
rit son prestige et son influence diminuer aux yeux de son ancien parti. . . On peut a 
peine comprendre qu' une oondaite si contraire aux usages parlementaires ait ^M tenue par 
oe patriot* qui avail rendu, avant 1'Union. les services les plus eminents a son pays dans 
une carriers toute remplie d'honnenr et de patriotisme." Le Canada Soul f Union, par 
Louis-P. Turcotte ; Premiere Partie, pp. 221, 222. 

66 The Last Forty Years. 

subsequent to that date he took his seat in the Upper House with 
more or less regularity, but he was by this time greatly advanced in 
life, and his health was precarious. As the years went by he became 
physically incapable of taking any part in the proceedings of the 
House, and finally he ceased to attend altogether. In March, 185S. 
amid general expressions of regret, his seat was declared vacant 
in consequence of his non-attendance for two successive sessions. 
He petitioned for a rescission of this proceeding, and a committee 
was appointed to consider the matter. The result of the com- 
mittee's deliberations was a report to the effect that the House, 
in declaring Mr. Vigor's seat vacant, had simply discharged an 
imperative duty imposed by the law of the land. The final 
clause of the report, however, shows the kindly feelings enter- 
tained by the committee towards the petitioner. Thus it runs: 
" Your Committee cannot close this report without expressing 
their deep regret that the physical sufferings of Mr. Viger have 
for so many years past deprived your Honourable House of his 
presence, and of his very valuable services as a Councillor and 
Legislator, and that the statute law of the land compelled your 
Honourable House to discharge the unpleasant duty of declaring 
that he was no longer one of its members. If it will be any con- 
solation to Mr. Viger to know that this report is sincerely expressed 
by your Committee, they will feel that they may in some degree 
have mitigated the harshness with which Mr. Viger seems to think 
the law has operated in his particular case." * Mr. Viger survived 
nearly three years longer, and died at his home in Montreal, in his 
eighty-seventh year, on the 13th of February, 1861. 

After Mr. Vigor's resignation Mr. Morris continued to discharge 
the functions of President of the Council, in addition to his duties 
as Receiver-General, though he was not actually installed into tlu 

See Journals of the Legislative Council of the Province of Canada, Vol. XVI. (1858; 
pp. 43, 44. 

Irresponsible Government. 67 

former office until the following year. It was anticipated that Mr. 
Sherwood would resign his post of Solicitor-General for Upper 
Canada at the close of the session of 1846. He had come into 
frequent collision with the members of the Cabinet during the 
progress of the session, and they had ceased to have any poetical 
confidence in him. The causes of divergence were numerous, 
and as he openly professed to reciprocate the hostility entertained 
towards him, his demission of office was regarded as a foregone 
conclusion. He had ceased to give the Government a cordial 
or consistent support, and did not think it necessary to dis- 
semble his views when called to account for his conduct. He 
had more than once expressed his dissatisfaction at the minis- 
terial method of carrying on the Administration, and had made 
no secret of his disapproval of some of the ministerial measures. 
He had repeatedly absented himself from important divisions, 
and this had occurred so often that his doing so could not be 
treated as accidental. He found fault with the Ministry for not 
having redeemed their pledges with respect to the University Bill. 
Whatever merit there may have been in this censure, considered in 
the abstract, it certainly came with ambiguous grace from a gentle- 
man who had voted for the measure in one session and against it in 
another.* When the Draper-Caron correspondence was made public, 
Mr. Sherwood became aware for the first time of the negotiations 
which had been carried on, and he made this another cause of offence 
against the Government. He spoke roundly on the subject, and 
declared that it was in the highest degree unseemly and improper 
that Mr. Draper should have offered to dispose of the offices of sorm 
.of his colleagues without their knowledge and consent If Mr. 

" Ill-natured people might say that he gave hii first vote to secure bis place, and hi> 
second to gratify his animosities. But we abhor scandal. As Mr. Sherwood lays he has 
the measure so profoundly at heart, we are bound to believe him." Montreal Oaiette, 
August 4th, 1846. 

68 The Last Forty Yean. 

Draper really did so, his conduct certainly merited condemnation, 
but the persons aggrieved thereby were primarily entitled to pro- 
nounce judgment upon it, and Mr. Sherwood was not of their 
number. He was not a member of the Cabinet, and had neither 
responsibility for nor direct interest in the Attorney-General's act.* 
And here was the root of the whole matter. Mr. Sherwood's ambi- 
tion prompted him to aspire to a seat in the Executive Council. He 
considered that his office should be made a Cabinet one, and felt 
bitterly towards Mr. Draper because that gentleman could not be 
brought to assent to such a proposition. Mr. Draper undoubtedly had 
his share of political sins to answer for, but this cannot be ranked 
among them. When Mr. Sherwood accepted the Solicitor-General- 
ship he did so with full knowledge that a seat in the Cabinet was 
not attached to that office. No promise, direct or indirect, was made 
to him that the privileges then appurtenant to the office would be 
increased or enlarged. As simple matter of fact, Mr. Draper had 
never implicitly trusted Mr. Sherwood, and would not under any 
circumstances have admitted him to his inmost counsels. Of this 
Mr. Sherwood sooner or later became aware, and he henceforward 
cherished a feeling of hostility towards the Attorney- General. The 
latter suspected the Solicitor-General of intriguing against the Gov- 
ernment, and determined to be rid of him. When the end of the 
session arrived, and the latter manifested no disposition to resign, 
an official intimation that his resignation would be acceptable was 
conveyed to him by the Provincial-Secretary, acting on behalf of the 
Governor-General. Nothing could have more clearly indicated the 
unsatisfactory and unfriendly nature of Mr. Sherwood's relations 

* "What hd Mr. Sherwood to do with the matter? Ha place was not menaced, nor 
could easily be involved in a settlement for Lower Canada. . . He was not compro- 
mised, and was free to resign his office if he did not like his principals. Yet he ' felt 
strongly,' nor were ' his feelings anil views kept a secret.' It would have been much more 
proper, we think, if he had kept them a secret, at least while he retained his office. The 
secret he does not explain is what he had to do with the matter at all." Montreal Gazette, 
August 4th, 1846. 

Irresponsible Government. 69 

with the Government. The sending of such an intimation was 
indicative of a desire to humiliate him ; for it would have been easy 
enough to convey an indirect and unofficial hint which would have 
afforded him an opportunity for voluntary resignation. The course 
resorted to was tantamount to a dismissal, and as such was regarded 
by Mr. Sherwood, who promptly handed in his resignation.* He 
published an explanatory letter in the Toronto Colonist, wherein he 
entered very fully into the facts, but he did no particular harm to 
the Administration thereby, and certainly did not add to the esteem 
in which he himself was held by the country at large, for his 
letter was replied to by the organs of the Government, and the 
weakness of his position was very clearly demonstrated. 

He was succeeded in the Solicitor-Generalship by Sir. John 
Ilillyard Cameron, a young man who had only just entered upon 
his thirtieth year, who had already attained to a foremost position at 
the Upper Canadian bar, and who had made his influence felt in the 
ranks of the Conservative party, although he had not up to this 
time aspired to a seat in Parliament. A constituency was soon found 
for him. Holland Macdonald, who represented the town of Cornwall, 
resigned his seat, and on the 17th of August Mr. Cameron was 
returned in his stead. The fact of his being selected to fill such a 
position bofore he had obtained a seat in the Legislature was in 
itself sufficient evidence of the respect in which his abilities were 
held ; but it was also evidence that the Conservative lawyers in the 
House were not rated as of much account by the Government. 
There was one exception. Mr. John A. Macdonald, the young 
member for Kingston, was doubtless fully equal to the position, and 
was spoken of in connection with it, but local jealousies stood in his 
way, and he was compelled to bide his time. Similar causes pre- 
vented him from assuming the Commissionership of Crown Lands,-f 

* He ceated to hold office on the lut day of June. 

+ Mr. Maodonald, u mentioned at the dose of Vol. I., " did not often Intrude himself 
upon the attention of the Assembly daring the early sessions of bis public career ; " but 

70 The Last Forty Tears. 

a post which Mr. Papineau professed his willingness to resign, 
W. B. Robinson, who had resigned the Inspector-Generalship more 
than a year before, now accepted the Chief Commissionership of 
Public Works, and upon returning to his constituents in Simcoe he 
was reelected without opposition. 

It cannot be said, however, that any of these changes did much to 
strengthen the Administration, and in the course of the summer and 
autumn of 1846 there were manifest indications of a Liberal reaction. 
Mr. Baldwin's consistent and straightforward course ever since his 
resignation of office had extorted respect, and even admiration, from 
persons of all shades of political opinion. On the other hand, the 
weakness and consequent vacillation of the Government had alien- 
ated or rendered lukewarm many persons who had once been among 
their firmest supporters. Mr. Draper came in for a formidable share 
of animadversion, and he was held responsible at the bar of public 
opinion for most of the ministerial shortcomings. To speak sooth, 
Mr. Draper's path, since his re-entry into the Assembly, had not 
been strewn with roses. He had all along been compelled to fight 
a hopeless battle, and he now found himself taken to task because 
he had not been able to achieve a victory. He had set out by 
professing his adherence to the doctrine of Executive responsibility, 
and had repeatedly violated that doctrine in the face of Parliament 
and the country. He had declared that he and his colleagues woulu 
hold office only so long as they were supported by a Parliamentary 
majority. The small majority which he had at first been able to com- 

!>*. was not long in making his individuality felt in the House. Soon after the close of the 
session of 1846, when it was rumoured that he was to be appointed Commissioner of Crown 
Lai. is, a leading Conservative newspaper which was not a mere Government organ 
referred to him in this wise : " The appointment of Mr. Macdonald, if confirmed, will, we 
believe, give universal satisfaction. A liberal, able, and clear-headed man, of sound 
Conservative principles, and of unpretending demeanour, he will bo an accession to any 
Ministry, and bring energy and business habits into a department of which there have been 
for many years, under the present, and still more under preceding managements, many 
complaints." See Montreal Gazette, June 16th, 1846. 

Irresponsible Government. 

mand had soon failed him, and he had sustained defeat after defeat 
On one occasion his policy had been condemned by the Assembly 
twice in the course of a single night. Instead of acting up to his 
professed principles by a prompt resignation, he had clung to office 
with a tenacity which surprised his own colleagues. Reconstruction, 
remonstrance, conciliation all had been tried in vain. The present 
was dark and lowering, the future seemed hopeless. He felt that 
he had tempted his fate to its utmost limit. He was weary of the 
ceaseless turmoil and bickering of public life, and longed for the 
comparative repose of the judicial bench. He was only restrained 
from gratifying his desire by the fact that the party to which he 
belonged could not agree among themselves as to who should 
succeed him as their leader, and he would not leave them altogether 
in the lurch. With him at the head of affairs, the Government, 
though weak and unstable as water, was still a Government With- 
out him the ministerial machine would probably have collapsed 
altogether. Ministers found themselves unable to count upon 
cordial support from any party, while the Opposition belaboured 
them without stint. They were discredited by outsiders, and 
suspicious of each other. Even such conspicuous Tories as Ogle R. 
Gowan and the Hon. George Moffatt made no secret of their distrust. 
Mr. Sherwood and his friends lost no opportunity of attacking the 
Government through the newspapers. The Toronto Globe regaled 
its readers with column after column of extracts from Conservative 
journals, all condemnatory of the ministerial no-policy, and all 
conceived in a spirit of the most unmistakable hostility and con- 
tempt Messrs. Cayley and Robinson, both of whom had accepted 
office for no other purpose than to prevent the Liberals from 
succeeding to power, could not conceal their antipathy to Mr. 
Draper. Still, there was no word of resignation. Such was the 
state of affairs within the ministerial precincts during the summei 
and autumn of the year 18^6. 

72 The Last Forty Years. 

The Liberals, meanwhile, did not neglect to avail themselves of 
the tide which was evidently turning in their favour. They held 
meetings in various parts of the Province, and did much to increase 
the efficiency of their party organization. They prepared an elabo- 
rate platform which, while it embodied little or nothing that had not 
been advocated by them ever since the Union, seemed wondrously 
effective when marshalled into a comprehensive and harmonious 
whole. A primary axiom was that the Provincial Government was 
practically as well as theoretically a Parliamentary Government, 
and that no Ministry should under any circumstances continue in 
power after it failed to command a Legislative majority. Should 
an appeal to the country be deemed advisable, resignation might 
be deferred until the result of the elections could be known ; where- 
upon, should the vote be adverse to the Ministry, resignation must 
immediately follow. These principles, of course, were merely what 
had all along been contended for by the Liberal party, and at any 
rate latterly conceded by their opponents, but they had been so 
repeatedly violated during the last two or three years that there 
seemed to be a peculiar fitness in bringing them conspicuously 
before the public eye at this juncture of affairs. 

The mutual responsibility of the Governor-General and the Provin- 
cial Ministry to each other, and the duties of both to the Sovereign, 
were also reduced to something like a tabulated system in the Liberal 
programme. The Queen's representative, it was said, should not 
assume that he degrades the Crown by following in a colony, with 
a constitutional Government, the example of the Crown at home. 
Responsible Government had been conceded to Canada, and should be 
attended, in its workings, with all the consequences of Responsible 
Government in the mother country. " What the Queen cannot do in 
England," said the Canadian Liberals, " the Governor should not be 
permitted to do in Canada. In making Imperial appointments she 
is bound to consult her Cabinet ; in making Provincial appoint- 

Irresponsible Government. 73 

ments, the Governor should be bound to do the same. Lord Metcalfe 
found himself surrounded by the leaders of a large Parliamentary 
majority, and, in making appointments, refused to consult them. 
By such conduct he brought himself and the Sovereign whom he 
represented into direct antagonism with the local Parliament.* To 
say, as he said, that it would be derogatory to the dignity of the 
Crown that he should act in harmony with the views of the majority 
in Parliament, when those views were insisted upon as the proper 
construction of a system of Government which had been conceded 
to them by the Crown of England, was but to throw the Crown into 
collision with the people of Canada. It made the Crown more or 
less a party to an infringement of the Provincial constitution. Nay 
more, it tended to inculcate the pernicious doctrine that the proper 
maintenance of the dignity of the Crown is incompatible with the 
inviolability of the constitution guaranteed to the Province. The 
Canadian people will never consent to having their constitution but 
partially enforced, and it is the extreme of folly in those who assume 
to be the peculiar conservators of Provincial loyalty to bring the 
Crown into antagonism with the people, by making an invasion of 
their rights a necessary condition to the maintenance of its dignity. 
We, the Canadian Liberals, see nothing in Responsible Parliamentary 
Government at war with any of the great prerogatives of the Crown. 
To maintain the contrary is, in our estimation, to convert the 
Crown from being the Executive head of a constitutional Govern- 
ment, into a repository of ancient prerogative, inconsistent with the 
*|>irit of the age, and incompatible with the liberty of the subject. 
It is not the wish of the Liberals here to take any such view of the 
Imperial Executive. Instead of being an antagonist with which, in 
the working of their Government, they are constantly called upon to 
cope, they wish to regard it, as they wish it to be, through its repre- 
sentative in the Province, as an harmonious component of their local 
constitution." * 

See Marking Cknmide, September Irt, 1846. 

7-t The Last Forty Years. 

The Liberal platform also condemned in the strongest manner 
the identification by a Governor of himself with either or any of tho 
political parties in the Province. The Governor of Canada, it was 
said, should bear in mind that the purpose of his mission to the 
Province is not to secure the ascendency of any faction, but to ad- 
minister his Government for the good of the colony. The colonists 
themselves are the best judges of all matters of local concern. To 
their judgment he should defer. Their views and wishes are indi- 
cated by the political complexion of their majorities in their local 
Parliament. The majority for the time being embodies the views 
of the country for the time being, and so long as these views con- 
tinue unchanged, he should throw no obstacles in the way of their 
fulfilment, provided they do not clash with Imperial interests. 
When these views change, it is for him to modify his course ; but 
he has no right to assume in any case, as was recently done, that 
the triumph of a party is but temporary and accidental ; and on 
such assumption, and in the hope that a change will soon take 
place : refuse to move from his party intrenchments, and keep his 
Executive in antagonism with the popular branch of the Govern- 
ment. He may see every reason to believe that a revolution in tho 
position of parties may be but temporary, but he has no right to act 
on such a supposition, or to lend the aid of Executive influence 
for the purpose of expediting the return of the defeated faction to 
power. * 

The Liberals, moreover, would not sanction continual references 
by the Governor to the Home Office as to matters which were 
of purely local application. It was insisted that the dependence 
of the Governor of the Province should be upon the local Parlia- 
ment, and not on the Home Government, as regarded the proper 
management of the affairs of the colony. " It will not do," said 
the Liberals, " that we shall be told, in reference to measures of a 

*Seo Morning Chronicle, September 1st, 1846. 

Irresponsible Government. 75 

purely local character, to look to England for redress if we consider 
ourselves aggrieved by the conduct of the Executive. We battled 
long for the establishment among us of Representative Government, 
with all its legitimate consequences. To look to England for redress 
in matters of mere local interest would be only to countenance a 
representative system utterly inefficient, so far as local matters are 
concerned ; and as the complete control of local affairs has always 
been the great aim of all organized agitation in Canada, such a 
course would be but to sanction the rendering our representative 
system inoperative in reference to the great object for which it was 
coveted and obtained. This we cannot and will not consent to do. 
We see no reason in such cases to make any appeal whatever to 
England, inasmuch as we conceive the Provincial constitution, if 
properly carried out, adequate for every emergency. We deny the 
right of the Governor to set Parliament at defiance, on the ground 
that the people have a remedy in appeal. It is his duty to act with 
a Ministry having the confidence of Parliament, or to appeal to the 
people of the Province, should he differ with his Cabinet and the 
Parliamentary majority which supports it. If the popular decision 
is then against him, he should succumb or retire ; he should, at all 
events, refrain from acting, in any case, in opposition to a Parlia- 
iin'iitary majority, and then looking to England for a ratification of 
his conduct In the management of affairs exclusively local the 
people of the Province are averse, in all cases, to a submission, 
direct or implied, to any extraneous tribunal. To Canadians alone 
must the Governor look for ratification and approval of his conduct 
in the management of their domestic affairs ; to the Imperial Gov- 
ernment alone is he to render an account of his stewardship in the 
conservation of Imperial interests. The Canadians have entire faith, 
so far as Provincial matters are concerned, in the adequacy and 
efficiency of Responsible Government If anything goes wrong, in 
tin- system itself are found all the essential elements of cure. In the 

76 The Last Fm-ty Years. 

free and unfettered working of the ocean lies the secret of the purity 
of its waters ; and so to the untrammelled operation of Responsible 
Government do the Canadians now look for the correction of abuses 
and the extirpation of wrong. What they want, and what they 
have long struggled to obtain, is a self-adjusting constitution. In 
1841 they conceived that the Imperial Government recognized it as 
their right, and guaranteed it to them as an inalienable possession. 
Tranquillity was at once restored to the Province, and a loyalty 
which previous events had a little shaken recovered its wonted place 
in the sympathies and affections of the people. They secured, as 
they believed, a system of Government in itself sufficient for all the 
local wants of the Province. To deny that the constitution of 1841 
is sufficient would be the signal for renewed agitation. It is the 
sine qua non of Canadian tranquillity. It is impolitic to teach them, 
by word or deed, that they have been cheated in supposing that they 
had acquired it in other words, that their contests with England 
are not yet over ; that there is still something indispensable to their 
rights as British subjects of which they are deprived, and which 
they must yet struggle with the mother country to obtain."* 

But the foregoing sentiments were not to be construed as indica- 
ting any want of loyalty on the part of the Canadian Liberals. 
They claimed that their loyalty was based, not upon a mere 
sentiment, but upon reason and logic. "Treat us fairly," they 
said, in effect, " and you will find us easy to manage. Oppress 
us, and we will offer a constitutional resistance." They justly 
complained of the persistent misrepresentation to which they had 
been subjected. As a party, they were commonly regarded in 
Great Britain as disaffected or disloyal " They look upon this," 
said the Liberals, speaking of themselves in the third person, " as 
a great barrier to the harmony and tranquillity of the Province, 
inasmuch as it tends to place every Governor in a false position 

See Morning Chronicle, September 1st, 1846. 

Irresponsible Government. 77 

as regards them, at the very outset of his career. If he shares 
in the impression too prevalent in this respect, he commences 
his administration of affairs on the supposition that he is called 
upon to suspect them, and to act more or less against them. They 
are the popular party here; they are numerically the stronger 
party, and were no sinister influences brought to bear upon the elec- 
tions, could command at any time a large majority in the represen- 
tation. How can the Provincial Government be equitably and 
satisfactorily administered, if the aim of the Governor's policy is to 
maintain with this party a constant and an unremitting struggle ? It 
is the policy of the Executive, in all free countries at least, to act in 
all cases, if possible, in harmony with the people, instead of placing 
itself in systematic opposition to them. And yet this latter is the 
position which Canadian Governors too frequently assume towards 
the popular party here. They look upon the preservation of the 
connection ef the Province with the mother country as the great 
object of their administration, and are too apt to fall into the error of 
supposing that this can only be effected by systematically checking the 
popular party. By the acts of the local Executive, the Crown and 
the Liberals are thus, with but little interruption, kept in antagon- 
ism to each other. The conviction is thus forced upon the latter by 
their daily experience that their great political antagonist is not the 
rival domestic party , but the Imperial Government If anything could 
tend to impair their loyalty it would be this. Unmerited suspicion 
very often begets the very evil which it fancies to exist The Cana- 
dian Liberals regard the Colonial Office as more or less imbued with 
the opinions in this respect prevalent out of doors. They fear that it 
acts under the erroneous impression that party warfare in the Prov- 
ince has a view to objecta beyond its legitimate range. The colony, 
they conceive, is set down at home as divided into the British and anti- 
British parties; and they fear that its successive Governors are de- 
puted, with instructions more or less direct, to co-operate with the 

78 The Last Forty Years. 

one party for the suppression of the other. There is at present no 
anti-British party in Canada, and nothing but the grossest mis- 
management and the most systematic disregard of the interests of 
the Province can create one. There is as much loyalty in the ranks 
of the one party as in those of the other. The object of the Pro- 
vincial Government should be to perpetuate the existing loyalty 
among all classes, instead of to check the disloyalty which it too 
frequently assumes to characterize a particular party."* 

Such is a brief exposition of the leading planks in the Liberal 
platform. Regarded as a whole, it had the great merit of being 
consistent with itself, as well as of being logically deducible from 
the fact that the mother country recognized Canada as a colony 
possessed of a constitution. The time was approaching when the 
doctrines so propounded were to receive general assent, and when 
Responsible Government should be defended by the Governor-Gen- 
eral as strenuously as it had ever been by its promoters. And it is 
worthy of remark that the Governor who was destined to take this 
stand was one who had inherited Tory traditions, and had been 
cradled in the lap of old-world Conservatism. 

With the signing of the Oregon Treaty all present danger of 
serious embroilment between Great Britain and the United States 
passed by. It was no longer either necessary or desirable that a 
soldier, whatever his personal or professional merits, should be at 
the head of Canadian affairs. The situation was one calling for the 
exercise of qualities such as are possessed by few, and which a 
military training cannot be expected to bestow. What was needed 
was " a person possessing an intimate knowledge of the principles 
and practice of the constitution of England, some experience of 
popular assemblies, and considerable familiarity with the political 
questions of the day." - f Where was such a man to be found ? Again, 

See Morning Chronicle, September 1st, 1846. 

tSee "The Colonial Policy of Lord John Russell's Administration," by Earl Grey, 
Vol. I., p. 207. 

IrretponribU Oovtrnment. 79 

as on the contemplated retirement of Lord Metcalfe, there were vari- 
ous rumours as to who would be sent out to succeed Lord Cathcart. 
Among other high dignitaries to whom the post was absurdly 
assigned was the Duke of Bedford. Early in September all dqubt 
on the subject was set at rest. Definite intelligence arrived by the 
English mail that Lord Elgin, who had succeeded Sir Charles Metcalfe 
as Governor of Jamaica, was to be the next representative of Her 
Majesty in Canada. Very little was known about him here, but 
that little was in his favour. It was known that he was the repre- 
sentative of an old and honourable Scottish family ; that he had 
been trained to political duties ; and that he had administered the 
Government of Jamaica to the satisfaction of the colonists, as well 
as to that of the Imperial authorities. It was also known that he 
had been a Conservative in Home politics, but that circumstance 
was not regarded as a disqualification. That it should not be so 
regarded by the Conservatives was a matter of course ; but even 
among Reformers there was no dissatisfaction on that score. It 
was remembered that Sir Charles Bagot had been a Conservative, and 
that he had sunk his native and inherited proclivities on this side 
of the Atlantic : that he had honestly endeavoured to carry on the 
colonial Government according to the constitution, and that Liberal 
principles had been in the ascendant throughout the whole term of 
his Administration. It was also remembered that Sir Charles 
Mctcalfe had been heralded as a Liberal of the most pronounced cast ; 
that he had allied himself with the party of obstruction, and that 
he had brought the country to the verge of ruin. It was therefore not 
strange that but little account was taken of Lord Elgin's domestic 
politics. " Lord Elgin is said to be a Tory," wrote Mr. Hincks, in the 
Montreal Pilot, " and there is no doubt that he is of a Tory family. 
We look upon his bias as an English politician with the most 
i'1-rl'ect indifference. We do not think it matters one straw to us 
Canadians whether our Governor is a Tory or a Whig, more 


The Last Forty Years. 

especially a Tory of the Peel school. We have to rely on ourselves, 
not on the Governor ; and if we are true to ourselves, the private 
opinions of the Governor will be of very little importance." The 
history of the next few years proved most indubitably that Mr. 
Hincks's view of the matter was sound, and that Canadians had 
nothing to fear from either the public or private opinions of this, 
the most enlightened and statesmanlike of Canadian Governors 
since the Union. 




"The reactionary policy of Lord Metcaife had clvarly demonstrated that the oonct uiuu 
<>{ 10 great a boon an free Parliamentary rule was in iUelf of little avail, unless some man 
thoroughly imbued with its spirit were called upon to preside over its practical operation. 
So long as theorists in high places could, at pleasure, set at nought its plainest axioms, 
the security for Canadian liberty must necessarily be precarious. The hour had now 
com,, when the controversy was to be settled at once and forever ; and with it appeared 
the man."-TH* SOOT IN BRITISH NORTH AMMIOA, 6* W. J. Rattray, B.A.; Vol. II., 
p. 607. 

AMES BRUCE, eighth Earl of Elgin and twelfth Earl of 
Kincardine, in the peerage of Scotland: afterwards first 
Baron Elgin, of Elgin, in the peerage of the United King- 
dom : enjoyed the distinction of having sprung from one 
of the royal houses of Scotland the historic house which 
numbers among its representatives the hero of Bannock- 
burn. The chronicles of the Bruces in early and mediaeval times 
abound with thrilling and romantic incidents, and form some of 
the most memorable passages of Scottish history. For centuries 
before the period to which this work relates the family had been 
settled in Fifeshire, and during the greater part of that time 
had been more or less connected with the diplomatic service. 
The father of the future Governor-General of Canada was that 
wi-11-known despoiler of tho Parthenon who was so mercilessly, 
and at the same time so unjustifiably, pilloried by Lord Byron in 
" The Curse of Minerva," * for removing the Elgin marbles, as they 
are now called, from Athens to England. The archaeological extra va- 

See al.o "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage," Canto II., stanzas xi xv. 

82 The Last Forty Years. 

gances of this nobleman did much to impoverish the family estate. 
He had a numerous progeny, for most of whom he was able to 
make but slender provision. The member of his family with whom 
we in this country are more immediately concerned was born in 
London, on the 20th of July, 1811. Being a second son, and having 
no expectation of succeeding to the title and estates, he was 
from an early age taught to regard himself as one who must 
largely depend upon himself for his future position in life. As a 
boy he spent some time at Eton, whence he passed to Christ 
Church, Oxford, where he won a well-deserved reputation for dili- 
gence, and was accredited with the possession of a shrewdness and 
native sagacity beyond his years. During his University career 
he had for his friends and contemporaries many young men 
who afterwards became eminent in political and professional life. 
Among the number were William Ewart Gladstone, Roundell 
Palmer (now Lord Selborne), James Ramsay (afterwards Lord 
Dalhousie), Sidney Herbert (afterwards Lord Herbert of Lea), 
Robert Lowe (now Lord Sherbrooke), and the young gentleman 
who subsequently became Duke of Newcastle, and who at a much 
more mature phase of his existence accompanied the Prince of 
Wales to Canada as his friend and guardian in 1860. It was some- 
thing to shine in such a galaxy, and young James Bruce fully held 
his own with the brightest of his compeers at the Union debating 

Illness, induced by overstudy, prevented him from competing for 
double honours, but he obtained a first-class in classics at the 
Michaelmas Examination of 1832, and was currently spoken of as 
" the best first of his year." He was soon after elected to a fellow- 

One of the brightest of them all, writing of Lord Elgin after intelligence of that noble- 
man's death reached England in 1863, thus referred to his old friend of college days : " I well 
remember placing him, as to the natural gift of eloquence, at the head of all those I knew, 
either at Eton or at the University." See extract from letter of Mr. Gladstone, quoted 
in Walrond's "Letters and Journals of James, Eighth Earl of Elgin ;" p. 3, note. 

Lord Elgin. 83 

ship of Morton College. In June, 1835, he entered himself as a 
student at Lincoln's Inn, but does not seem to have had any serious 
idea of devoting himself to the legal profession. He gave much 
attention to politics, and published one or two pamphlets on im- 
portant public questions. As became one of his lineage and 
training, he was attached to the Conservative side, but his Con- 
servatism was of a most liberal complexion, and had nothing in 
common with the old-fashioned Toryism in which he had been bred. 
In 1837 he was an unsuccessful candidate for the representation of 
Fifeshire in the House of Commons. He had made very insufficient 
preparation for his candidature, which was suddenly determined upon 
in consequence of an unexpected vacancy in the representation of the 
shire, combined with the injudicious importunities of some of his 
friends. As a consequence he was defeated by a large majority. He 
made no further attempt to obtain a seat in Parliament until 1841, 
when he was returned in the Conservative interest for the borough of 
Southampton. In the course of a speech made by him at this time 
he laid down his political platform with sufficient clearness, as well 
as with much eloquence. " I am a Conservative," said he " not upon 
l>rinciples of exclusionism ; not from narrowness of view, or illiber- 
ality of sentiment ; but because I believe that our admirable con- 
Miuition, on principles more exalted and under sanctions more holy 
than those which Owenism or Socialism can boast, proclaims between 
men of all classes and degrees in the body politic a sacred bond of 
brotherhood in the recognition of a common warfare here, and a 
common hope hereafter. I am a Conservative, not because I am 
adverse to improvement, not because I am unwilling to repair what 
is wasted, or to supply what is defective in the political fabric, but 
because I am satisfied that, in order to improve effectually, you 
must be resolved most religiously to preserve." 

His party were then in Opposition, Lord Melbourne's Whig Qov- 
rnunent being still in power. To him was assigned the duty of 

84 The Last Forty Years. 

seconding the amendment to the Address. His speech on the occa- 
sion, in the course of which he professed himself a friend to Free 
Trade, was replete with promise, and foreshadowed the broad and 
just-minded statesman of later times. The amendment was carried 
by a large majority, and Lord Melbourne's Government gave place 
to that of Sir Robert Peel. The new Ministry was formed early in 
September. It of course received cordial support from young 
Bruce, but he was not destined to remain long enough in the 
House of Commons to make his presence strongly felt there. On 
the 14th of November he succeeded, on the death of his father, to 
the family honours and estates, his elder brother having died about 
two years before. A Parliamentary career thus seemed to be closed 
to him, a Scottish peer being, according to the generally received 
opinion, ineligible for a seat in the Commons. But a new field for 
the exercise of his talents soon presented itself. In March, 1842, 
the important post of Governor of Jamaica was offered to him. He 
accepted it, and in doing so decided his vocation in life. 

In April of the previous year he had married Elizabeth Mary, 
daughter of Mr. C. L. Gumming Bruce, of Roseisle. Accompanied 
by his wife, he set sail for Jamaica within a month from the date of 
his appointment. The vessel was wrecked on the voyage, and 
though no lives were lost, Lady Elgin's system received a shock 
from which it never entirely recovered. She died in the summer 
of the following year, having meanwhile given birth to a daughter, 
the present Baroness Thurlow. Lord Elgin spent somewhat more 
than four years in Jamaica, during which he fully justified the good 
opinion of the Government to which he owed his appointment. 
His moderation, eloquence, and high sense of justice commended 
him to the goodwill of all classes. He did much to promote the 
education and general welfare of the emancipated negroes, and his 
administration of affairs was marked by considerable moral and 

Lord Elgin. 85 

social progress in the colony. He left for Great Britain in the spring 
of 1846, and, though he had merely obtained leave of absence, it was 
understood that he was not to be asked to return. 

Upon the change of Government in the summer of 184G, as has 
been seen, Lord Grey became Secretary of State for the Colonies. 
His politics were opposed to those of Lord Elgin, but he was wise 
and just enough to recognize merit wherever he found it. Before the 
summer came to an end Lord Elgin received at his hands an offer 
of the Governor-Generalship of British North America. The offer 
was accepted ; " not," says Lord Elgin's biographer, " in the spirit of 
mere selfish ambition, but with a deep sense of the responsibilities 
attached to it."* It was arranged that his Lordship should leave 
for Canada early in the following year. How the news of the 
appointment was received in this country has already been narrated. 

Two months before departing for the seat of his Government 
Lord Elgin married his second wife Lady Mary Louisa Lambton, 
daughter of the first Earl of Durham, whose connection with Cana- 
dian affairs has been outlined in the first chapter of this work. 
Leaving his bride behind in England, to follow him across the sea 
at a less inclement season, his Lordship set out from Liverpool early 
in January, 1847, in the Cunard steamship Hibemia. The vessel 
encountered unusually rough weather, even for that time of year, 
and the voyage was a most uncomfortable one. Having reached 
Halifax on the 20th of the month, the Governor disembarked and 
spent a few hours as the guest of Sir John Harvey, Lieutenant- 
Governor of Nova Scotia. It had been Lord Elgin's intention to 
pass some days in the Maritime Provinces, and then to proceed to 
Montreal by way of Fredericton, but he now learned that the 
condition of the roads was not suited to such an undertaking; 
so, after receiving and replying to addresses from tin- Legislative 

Walrond, p. 29. 

86 The Last Forty Years. 

Council and Assembly of the Province,* he re-embarked on board 
the Hibemia, and proceeded to Boston, whither he arrived on the 
25th. On the morning of the following day he set out for Montreal. 
He reached his destination on the 29th, and took up his abode at 
Monklands. On the 30th he made his public entry into the city, 
and was sworn into office at the Government House, in the presence 
of Earl Cathcart, the members of the Executive Council, and 
other public functionaries. The enthusiastic addresses usual to 
such an occasion were received and replied to by his Excellency, 
who made a most favourable impression on the French Canadian 
population by replying to them extemporaneously in their own 
language. The impression made by his Lordship upon all classes, 
indeed, was most favourable. His manners and his power of 
utterance proclaimed him to be no mere office-holder, but a cultured 
and polished statesman, imbued with a high sense of the responsi- 
bilities of his position. " I am sensible," said he, in reply to 
an address from the inhabitants of Montreal, " that I shall best 
maintain the prerogative of the Crown, and most effectually carry 
out the instructions with which Her Majesty has honoured me, by 
manifesting a due regard for the wishes and feelings of the people 
and by seeking the advice and assistance of those who enjoy their 
confidence." So that there was at least no seeming probability of 
his foundering upon the rock upon which Lord Metcalfe had been 

Earl Cathcart's administration of Canadian affairs having come to 
an end, that nobleman soon afterwards returned to Great Britain, 

The Halifax papers of the period contain very full accounts of Lord Elgin's tiyin,' 
visit. The Morning Post has the following reference to his personal appearance : " The 
Governor-General is a man of middle stature, with an open and prepossessing countenance, 
over which an expression of innate benevolence beamed as he read his reply to the addresses. 
His forehead is one exhibiting great capacity, and in his action and utterance, as well as 
in the sentiments of his address, one could not help being struck with a remarkable evi- 
dence of strong common sense, and ready talents for business. " 

Lord Elgin. 87 

where he was appointed to the military command of the northern 
ami midland district of England, a position which he retained until 
1854. He lived for about twelve years after his departure from 
Canada, and died at St. Leonard's-on-Sea, Sussex, England, on the 
16th of July, 1859. 

For some months after Lord Elgin's assumption of office there 
seemed to be a lull in public affairs. The Draper Ministry still held 
office, but it was tottering to its fall. The fact is that, as Lord 
Elgin's biographer remarks, " there was no real political life ; only 
that pale and distorted reflection of it which is apt to exist in a 
colony before it has learned to look within itself for the centre of 
power."* Parties were formed, "not on broad issues of principle, 
but with reference to petty local and personal interests; and when 
they sought the support of a more widespread sentiment they fell 
back on those antipathies of race which it was the main object of 
every wise Governor to extinguish/'^ As for Lord Elgin himself 
he grew in favour day by day. Physically, as well as mentally, he 
furnished a marked contrast to his immediate predecessors. He was 
young, and enjoyed vigorous health. He could upon occasion work 
eighteen hours a day, and felt himself entirely independent of the 
state of the weather. If his presence was needed at a public meet- 
ing, the howling blasts and keen frosts of a Canadian winter offered 
no obstacle to him. He possessed an admirable temper, and always 
displayed a pleasant demeanour before the public eye. He did not 
consider it derogatory to his dignity to walk to church, instead of 
being conveyed thither in his carriage. He was ever ready to 
n-;pond impromptu to any address which might be presented to 
him, and, like Lord Dufferin in more recent times, he always con- 
trived to say something appropriate to the occasion. It was soon 
discovered that he was the most effective speaker in the Province. 
His marriage to the daughter of Lord Durham was an additional 

Walrond, p. 37. t/6. 

88 Tlie Last Forty Years. 

recommendation in the eyes of most Canadians, who regarded his 
Lordship's memory with the respect due to one who had fought 
and suffered in their cause.* 

The Governor-General had been carefully instructed by Lord Grey 
before his departure from England as to the policy to be pursued by 
him in carrying on his Canadian Administration. The instructions 
were of a liberal and enlightened character, but they implied 
a certain amount of subservience on the part of the Legislature, 
and Lord Elgin improved upon them. He had made himself 
thoroughly familiar with Lord Durham's views on colonial questions, 
and those views had fully commended themselves to his judgment. 
He saw his way to yielding a full measure of Responsible Govern- 
ment without in any degree curtailing the power and prerogative of 
the Crown. He refused to embroil himself in the bickerings of 
faction. He acted harmoniously with the Ministry, but did not 
attempt to conceal from them that he would, if necessary, work with 
their opponents with equal cordiality should the necessity for doing 
so arise. About this time he wrote to Lady Elgin expressing his 
opinion that the real and effectual vindication of her illustrious 
father's memory and proceedings would be the success of a Governor- 
General of Canada who should work out Lord Durham's views of 
Government fairly. " Depend upon it," wrote his Excellency, " if 
this country is governed t\.r a few years satisfactorily, Lord Durham's 
reputation as a statesman will be raised beyond the reach of cavil. 
I do not indeed know whether I am to be the instrument to carry 
out this work, or be destined, like others who have gone before me, 
to break down in the attempt ; but I am still of opinion that the 
thing may be done, though it requires some good-fortune, and some 
qualities not of the lowest order."f Happily, as the event proved, 
the diffidence displayed in the above extract did not proceed from 
conscious weakness. It was reserved for Lord Elgin to see Respon- 

Walrond, p. 36. t/i., p. 41. 

Lord Elyin. 89 

sible Government established in Canada on a firm and permanent 
basis, and from that time down to the present day there has been no 
successful endeavour on the part of any public man to undermine it. 
True, there have at odd times been arbitrary pretensions on the part 
of one or two of Lord Elgin's successors, but there has been no 
drlilx'rate attempt to force the will of a minority upon a free 
people, nor to assert the prerogatives of the Crown as an excuse for 
One-Man Government. There is surely no intelligent Canadian of 
the present day, to whichsoever side of politics he may belong, who 
would be satisfied with the old system of Executive irresponsibility, 
or who cannot distinguish between disloyalty to the Sovereign and 
loyalty to Canada. 

During the spring of the year there was a repetition of former 
attempts to reinforce the Ministry by inducing some of the French 
Canadian leaders to join it. The advances at this time were 
made to Mr. Caron by Mr. Cayley. As on former occasions, the 
attempt utterly failed. The stumbling-block, as before, was Mr. 
Daly, who would not resign, and who could not well be dismissed.* 
Then followed several important ministerial changes. On the 22nd 
of April Mr. Smith, Attorney-General for Lower Canada, resigned his 
place, and on the following day was appointed a Judge of the Court 
of Queen's Bench in his native Province. He was succeeded by the 
Hon. William Badgley, who had long been a conspicuous member of 
the British party in the Lower Province, and who had recently tilled 
the office of a circuit judge and commissioner in bankruptcy. Mr. 
Taschoreau, the Solicitor-General tor Lower Canada, took umbrage 
at Mr. Badgley 's accession to an office to which he considered that 
he himself had a prior claim. He resigned the Solicitor-Generalship, 

* "Lea pr<5tenlions de M. Daly s'oppoiiaient a un arrangement acceptable. Le minister* 
e'tait pret a ceVler trois portefeuilles aux lilwraux ; mais il refusait de lacri&er M. Daly 
qui se croyait inadmovililo dan* ion pocte de secretaire provincial." Le Canada Sout 
F Union, Deuzieme Partie, p. 11. 
7 * 

90 The Last Forty Years. 

and announced his intention of going into Opposition ; a contingency 
which the Ministry avoided by appointing him to a circuit judge- 
ship. In May Mr. John A. Macdonald joined the Ministry, and 
became Receiver-General, Mr. Morris succeeding to the Presidency 
of the Council. Mr. Draper having by this time completed arrange- 
ments for retiring from political life, the portfolio of Attorney- 
General for Upper Canada, together with the leadership of the 
Government in the Assembly, were offered to Mr. John Hillyard 
Cameron. That gentleman was willing enough to accept those 
dignities, but as Mr. Henry Sherwood pressed his own claims with 
much fervour, and threatened to bring all his influence to bear 
against the Ministry upon the opening of the approaching session 
if his pretensions were disallowed, the Government yielded, and 
upon Mr. Draper's retirement from office on the 28th of May, Mr. 
Sherwood accordingly succeeded to the place to which he had so 
long aspired that of Attorney-General and Prime Minister. Mr. 
Cameron, however, as a mark of special respect, was admitted to a 
seat in the Cabinet on the strength of his Solicitor-Generalship. On 
the last day of the month Mr. Peter McGill became Speaker of the 
Legislative Council, with a seat in the Cabinet. Mr. Caron, the last 
Speaker, had been displaced about a fortnight before. The Minis- 
try, being unable to persuade that gentleman to join hands with 
them, or to induce any of his compatriots to do so, determined to 
remove him from office. He was officially informed by Mr. Daly 
that the office of Speaker of the Legislative Council would for the 
future be a ministerial one, and that his Excellency had accordingly 
found it necessary to direct the revocation of his, Mr. Caron's, com- 
mission. This proceeding, as will readily be conceived, did not 
tend to make the Government more popular than it had previously 
been with the French Canadian population. As for Mr. Caron, as 
will in due course be seen, he was out of office only about ten 
months, when he was called upon to resume his former place, with 
the added dignity of a seat in the Cabinet. 

Lord Elgin. 91 

The Ministry, as reconstructed in the month of May, 1847, is known 
to our history as the Sherwood-Daly Ministry. It contained but 
one French Canadian member Mr. Papineau and there seemed to 
be no possibility of inducing any other of that nationality to enrol 
himself in its ranks. Mr. Draper, though he had resigned his place 
in the Cabinet, was still a member of Parliament, and took his seat 
on the independent benches in the Assembly at the beginning of the 
session. On the opening day, in order that no time might be lost 
in providing for the future representation of London, he gave 
notice of his intention to resign his seat for that place. 

The opening took place on the 2nd of June. The Speech from 
the Throne was of a somewhat non-committal character, but 
announced several concessions on the part of the Imperial Govern- 
ment, including the control of the Post Office Department, and 
authority to repeal the differential duties in favour of British 
manufactures. The amendment, which was moved by Mr. Bald- 
win on the 8th, afforded that gentleman an opportunity of making 
a vigorous attack upon the Ministry. The ensuing debate lasted 
until the 12th, when a vote was taken, and the amendment nega- 
tived by a majority of two. A division was then taken on each 
clause of the Government Address in Reply, and the result was the 
same throughout. Mr. Draper voted with the Ministry, and this 
was the last vote recorded by him within the walls of Parliament. 
In the course of his speech, which wound up the debate, he took his 
farewell of the House and of public life. He stated that that was 
probably the last time he should ever address a political assembly, 
and that he was anxious to retire on terms of amity with every 
member of the House. He then entered upon what he intended as 
a defence of hi.s own career as First Minister of the Crown. He 
referred the House back to the period when Sir Charles Metcalfe 
dissolved the Administration of Messieurs Lafontaine and Baldwin, 
and reminded them of the difficult task he had undertaken in endea- 

92 The Last Forty Years. 

vouring to carry on a Government with a large majority in Parlia- 
ment against him. So painful had the task been, he alleged, that had 
he anticipated what he had since suffered, he would never have ac- 
cepted the responsibility. When he had taken office, he had felt that 
to attempt to carry on the Government on the old system would be 
absurd. He had desired to lay the basis of a larger party than had 
ever before been seen in Canada a party which would at once have 
the confidence of the country, and be efficient in the conduct of public 
affairs. He had laboured with all his energy and in all honesty for 
this one object, and he felt that the days and nights of pain which he 
had devoted to the cause had been but ill requited by those with whom 
he had acted. (Here the honourable gentleman wept.) He did not 
wish to reproach any one, but he would say that his exertions in 
the Conservative cause had been ill repaid. It was easy for people 
to find fault : to say that the Government should have done this or 
that : but he could tell them, and the honourable gentlemen opposite 
he knew would corroborate it, that to conduct the affairs of the 
country, with the material which could be procured, was a most 
difficult undertaking. The present system of Government had been 
in operation only five or six years ; the people were yet unused to it ; 
and it was too much to expect that heaven-born statesmen would 
spring up in a day. The entire speech from first to last, as was to 
be expected, was listened to with close attention by the Assembly. 
In the course of his remarks Mr. Draper declared, to the huge 
astonishment of most of his hearers, that Responsible Government 
was the only system on which Canada could be governed, and he 
declared that on that principle he had accepted and held office 
under Lord Metcalfe. He admitted that Government patronage 
should be employed for strengthening the hands of the Adminis- 
tration of the day; that for all appointments the Ministry are 
responsible, and that had any appointment been made without 
his advice, he would have resigned office. Such was the last 

Lord Elgin. 93 

deliverance of the Honourable William Henry Draper on the floor 
of the Assembly. He immediately afterwards accepted the place of 
a puisne" Judge of the Court of Queen's Bench for Upper Canada, 
as successor to Mr. Justice Hagerman, deceased. Nine years later 
he succeeded Sir James Macaulay as Chief Justice of the Court of 
Common Pleas, a position which he retained till July, 1863, when 
he succeeded the Hon. Archibald McLean as Chief Justice of Upper 
Canada. In February, 1869, he attained the highest dignity known 
to the judicial bench of the Province that of President of the 
Court of Error and Appeal. This position he retained until his 
death in November, 1877. As has been remarked elsewhere,* 
whatever differences of opinion may be entertained as to his political 
career, there can be but one verdict upon his long judicial life. It 
extended over more than thirty years. It was marked by unflag- 
ging industry, and by the higher attributes of great learning and 
stainless honour. His judgments will long be regarded by the 
profession with the respect due to great legal acquirements, wonder- 
ful power of analysis, and a mind of broad and firm intellectual 

The session lasted eight weeks, during which some useful laws 
were enacted, and a fair share of business was despatched. The 
weakness of the Ministry, however, was made manifest from day to 
day, and there was no chance for them to carry any measure as to 
which there was serious divergence of opinion. They were repeat- 
edly defeated, and there were again indications of internal dis- 
organization. Still they would not demit their power, though 
they professed to be sanguine as to the result in case of a general 
election. The session was brought to a close on the 28th of July, 
and the rest of the year was largely devoted by both parties to 
active preparations for an election campaign. 

There was another subject, however, which engaged public atten- 

Antt, Vol. I., p. 71. 

94 The Last Forty Tears. 

tion to a large extent. The year was marked by a very large 
immigration to Canada from Ireland. As a rule, it is to the interest 
of colonies to promote immigration to their shores, but the rule is 
subject to modification by circumstances. In 1847 the exodus from 
Ireland was chiefly due to the failure of the potato crop, and the 
famine which ensued therefrom. The immigrants to Canada were 
for the most part from the poor and indigent classes. Many of them 
were enfeebled in health by poverty, starvation, and suffering. 
Owing to their unhealthy condition, and to the insufficient accom- 
modation provided for such immense numbers on the vessels which 
conveyed them across the ocean, a malignant form of ship-fever 
broke out among them. Many died on the way out, and of those 
who reached our shores alive a large percentage were fit only for 
the hospitals. Some idea of the extent of the misery which pre- 
vailed may be formed when it is known that nearly 100,000 
immigrants were landed at Quebec during the year, and that the 
number confined in the hospitals at one time was not far short of 
10,000. The mortality was very great among persons of all ages, 
and though children suffered equally with adults, nearly 1,000 
immigrant orphans were left destitute at Montreal alone. Other 
Canadian cities and towns underwent similar inflictions. Children 
and adults alike were compelled to depend upon public and private 
charity. "Army after army of sick and suffering people, fleeing from 
famine in their native land to be stricken down by death in the 
valley of the St. Lawrence, stopped in rapid succession at Grosso 
Isle, and then, leaving numbers of their dead behind, pushed upwards 
towards the lakes in overcrowded steamers, to burden the inhabitants 
of the western towns and villages."* It is worthy of being recorded 
to the lasting honour of our people that, irrespective of politics, 
nationality or colour, they responded to the demands thus made 
upon their philanthropy, not only with readiness, but even with 

See MacMullen's History of Canada, p. 504. 

Lord, Eliji/i. 95 

generous eagerness. Their grumblings at the burdens imposed 
upon them did not maike themselves heard until the crisis was over, 
and until the gaunt wolf had been driven from the door. Relief com- 
mittees were formed all over the Province, not merely on behalf of 
the sufferers who had arrived in Canada, but also on behalf of those 
who remained iti Ireland. The wealthy gave from their abundance ; 
the poor from such store as they could command. The Indians of 
Caughnawaga, of the Credit, of the Grand River, of Munceytown, 
and of the Bay of Quint4, contributed their respective mites to 
relieve the sufferings of their white brethren. The coloured inhabi- 
tants, not a few of whom were escaped slaves from the Southern 
States, and who, as was to be expected, were almost all in poor 
worldly circumstances themselves, proved that they appreciated the 
blessings of manhood and of freedom, and that they could practise 
self-denial for a season to relieve the pressing needs of their more 
indigent fellow-creatures. 

The necessities of the time were indeed imperative. The official 
mind ceased, for the nonce, to concern itself with party questions. 
Government awoke to the urgency of the occasion. The duty of 
making public provision for the sick and destitute was apparent, 
and the task of doing so was practically withdrawn from the 
Civil Secretary's Department, and assumed by the Administration 
as a whole. Immigrant sheds and temporary hospitals were erected 
in the principal cities, and such professional assistance as could be 
obtained was pressed into the public service. In spite of all that 
c-xild be donj, thousands of the starved and fever-stricken victims 
1 1 ifl from disease and exposure. Many Canadians who volunteered 
as physicians or nurses fell victims to contagion, and died by the 
side of their suffering patients. The Roman Catholic priesthood 
and the Sisters of Charity, as is their wont in such emergencies, 
displayed a courage and self-sacrifice which awoke general admira- 
tion. Early in the season they repaired in considerable numbers to 

96 The Last Forty Years. 

Grosse Isle, the quarantine station, about thirty miles below Quebec, 
in the middle of the St. Lawrence, where thousands of the sufferers 
were disembarked. A vast majority of the latter professed the 
Roman Catholic faith, and as such had special claims upon the 
Roman Catholic clergy. So numerous were the patients, and so 
foul was the disorder from which they suffered, that the island was 
for some time a mass of putrescent loathsomeness. The atmosphere 
was as deadly as that of the fabled valley of Java through which 
the upas was said to send forth its fatal exhalations. So malignant 
was the poison that in some instances healthy persons, landing on the 
island to minister to the wants of the sufferers, were struck down 
by the pestilence and lay dead within a few hours. It will hardly 
be denied that the courage which enables a human being to encounter 
such dangers as these is at least as worthy of emulation as that 
more demonstrative heroism which impels to such achievements as 
the charge of the Light Brigade. The priesthood and sisterhood of 
Rome descended upon Grosse Isle like angels of mercy. If it can- 
not be said that at their control " Despair and anguish fled the 
struggling soul," it is at least true that they did what in them lay to 
cool the parched tongue, to lighten the pangs of dissolution, and to 
prepare the mind of the sufferer for the great change before him. 
They ministered to the temporal comforts of the living, and held 
the crucifix before the fading eyes of the dying. They had indeed 
the courage begotten of that implicit faith which removes moun- 
tains. It mattered not to them that the air was laden with 
pestilence ; that the next breath which they drew might be charged 
with germs as fatal to human life as was the death-dealing draught 
of the Borgias. They felt that in alleviating human suffering they 
were carrying out the injunctions of the Founder of all Christian 
faiths, and that neither pestilence, poison, nor any other deadly 
thing had power to harm them without their Master's leave. 

With the advent of autumn and cool weather the virulence of the 


Lord Elgin. !i? 

disease showed signs of abatement, and then the voice of the Cana- 
dian people began to make itself heard. They had nobly responded 
to the call of charity, and had spent both themselves and their sub- 
stance in the cause of suffering humanity. Now they began to 
inquire why they should have been called upon to do so. They 
had been put to great expense to provide for the starving and 
helpless poor of Great Britain, who, as it seemed, had been in- 
flicted upon the Canadians merely because Britain herself wished 
to be rid of them. Canada, they said, had been made a scapegoat. 
It seemed only fair that the mother-country should at least recom- 
pense them for the outlay which had been imposed upon them. 
" It is enough," said they, " that our houses should be mnde a 
receptacle of this mass of want and misery: it cannot surely be 
intended that we are to be mulcted in heavy pecuniary damages 
besides."* As the season advanced, and the extent of the pecu- 
niary infliction came to be more definitely known, the feeling of 
dissatisfaction towards the mother-country began to make itself 
more manifest. The French population had never been favourable 
to British iiiiiiiij,Tation to Canada, and the events of the year had 
not tended to reconcile them to it. The Opposition, as usual under 
such circumstances, sought to make political capital out of the 
calamities of the time by holding the Government to some extent 
responsible therefor. The republican clement in the population had 
an opportunity of contrasting the immigration arrangements of the 
United States with our own, and the contrast was not to our 
advantage. At New York, no sooner did the character of the 
y.-;ir's immigration become known than the laws were rigidly 
enforced against shipowners who violated their bonds by landing 
destitute and indigent persons ; and this had the effect of diverting 
such persons to our own shores. In a word, there were abundant 
grounds for dissatisfaction on the part of Canadians, and they 

See Lord Elgin's letter to Lord Grey, quoted in Walrond. p. 4.1. 

98 The Last Forty Years. 

waxed moody and angry. The climax was reached just as the 
season's navigation closed, when, in spite of the remonstrances 
against further inflictions which had been sent across the Atlantic, 
a shipload of emigrants from Lord Palmerston's Irish estates were 
landed at Quebec. Now, Lord Palmerston was Secretary for 
Foreign Affairs in the existing Home Government, and this deple- 
tion from his estates was looked upon in this country as a wilful 
and quasi-official disregard of our representations. Some of the 
newspapers indulged in much plainness of language. Lord Elgin 
himself wrote to Earl Grey urging the claims of Canada to recom- 
pense for her pecuniary loss, and it was not till his Excellency 
was able to assure the public that his arguments had produced the 
desired effect, and that England would herself bear the expense to 
which the colony had been subjected, that the public pulse quieted 

Towards the end of September the Governor visited Quebec, and 
early in October he started on a western tour, in the course of which 
he visited the chief towns on Lake Ontario. He won the hearts of 
the people wherever he went. In Lower Canada he delighted the 
French by talking to them in their native tongue. In Upper 
Canada his replies to the innumerable addresses which awaited him 
were characterized by a combined statesmanship and good-fellow- 
ship which produced a very palpable effect upon public opinion. 
As the year drew to its close it was rumoured that there was to be 
an immediate dissolution. The rumour was followed by its fulfil- 
ment on the 6th of December, and from that date until the 24th 
of January following the Province was in the throes of a general 
election campaign. On the 8th of December some changes occurred 
in the composition of the Ministry. Mr. Papineau resigned his place 
as Commissioner of Crown Lands, and was succeeded by Mr. John 
A. Macdonald, who was succeeded in the post of Receiver-General 
by the Hon. F. P. Bruneau, a member of the Legislative Council 

Lord Elgin. 

At the same time the Hon. J. E. Turcotte accepted the Solicitor- 
Generalship for Lower Canada, a post which had been vacant ever 
since Mr. Taschereau's resignation, already noted, more than six 
months previously. 

There was of course great activity and excitement all through the 
election campaign, but the result was from the first a foregone con- 
clusion. The reaction had fairly set in, and when all the returns had 
been made it was found that the Qovernment were in a hopeless 
minority. The Reformers swept the constituencies like a broom in 
both sections of the Province. All the leading members of their 
party were returned, and it was evident that if they judiciously 
availed themselves of their opportunities a long lease of power was 
before them. The Government recognized their defeat, and it was a 
question with them whether they should forthwith tender their 
resignations or wait until the meeting of Parliament The latter 
course was finally decided upon as the day of assembling was near 
at hand. 


"Remember that the first care of a Governor in a free colony is to shun the reproach of 
being a party man. Give all parties, and all the Ministries formed, the fairest play. . . 
After all, men are governed as much by the heart as by the head. Evident sympathy in 
the progress of the colony ; traits of kindness, generosity, devoted energy, where required 
for the public weal ; a pure exercise of patronage ; an utter absence of vindictiveness or 
spite; the fairness that belongs to magnanimity these are the qualities that make 
Governors powerful, while men merely sharp and clever may be weak and detested." 
SIB EDWARD BDLWEB LYTTON to Sir George Bowen, quoted in Todd's Parliamentary 
Government in the British Colenia, p. 575. 

'HE new Parliament assembled at Montreal on Friday, 
the 25th of February, 1848. At three o'clock in the 
W afternoon of that day his Excellency, accompanied by 
his Staff, and by the Provincial Secretary, Mr. Daly, 
entered the Chamber of the Legislative Council. The 
members of the Assembly having been summoned to the 
bar, Mr. McGill, Speaker of the Legislative Council, announced that 
his Excellency did not think ft to declare the causes for summoning 
the present Parliament until a Speaker to the Assembly should be 
elected, according to law. Monday, the 28th, being named for the 
delivery of the Speech from the Throne, the members of the Lower 
House retired to their own Chamber, and proceeded to the election 
of a Speaker. 

The strength of parties was soon put to the test. The pro- 
ceedings in the Assembly were commenced by Mr. Cayley. Inspector- 
General in the moribund Ministry, who proposed that Sir Allan 

Lafontaine Baldwin. 101 

MacNab, the late incumbent of the office, should be Speaker. 
The motion was seconded by Colonel Prince, who highly compli- 
iiifiited Sir Allan on the manner in which he had discharged his 
oilicial duties during the last Parliament Mr. Baldwin then rose 
and moved that the Hon. A. N. Morin should be Speaker. He 
admitted that Sir Allan had usually discharged the duties pertaining 
to the office as efficiently as was possible in a gentleman unacquainted 
with the French language, but he submitted that in a House where 
so many members were French, and some of whom were unable to 
speak or understand English, it was a practical necessity that the 
Speaker should have a knowledge of both languages. Mr. Mori it's 
familiarity with both French and English, combined with his 
dignity, knowledge of Parliamentary law, and general urbanity of 
manner, were referred to by Mr. Baldwin as preeminently fitting 
him for the Speaker's office. The motion was seconded by Mr. 
Lafontaine. A vote was then taken, and Sir Allan's candidature 
defeated by a vote of fifty-four to nineteen.* Mr. Morin was 
tin -n elected by acclamation, and conducted to his seat amid loud 
cheering from all parts of the Chamber. The vote on the Speaker- 
ship afforded a plain indication of the weakness of the Ministry. 
And here it is worth while to note the most important changes 
brought about by the recent elections. 

To begin with the ministerial side : three members of the Gov- 
rnment Messieurs Morris, McGill and Bruneau were members 
of the Legislative Council, and had no need to appeal to the suf- 
frages of the people. The other six Executive Councillors had all 
been returned for their old constituencies, viz.: Mr. Sherwood for 
Toronto, Mr. Cayley for Huron, Mr. Badgley for Missisquoi, John 
A. Macdonald for Kingston, John Hillyard Cameron for Cornwall.f 

There were seventy-five members present, but the candidates themselves refrained v.itin.". 

tThe Solicitor-General for Upper Canada also contested the county of Kent with Mr 
Malcolm Cameron, but was defeated by a majority of more than SCO. 

102 The Last Forty Years. 

and the never-failing Mr. Daly for Megantic. Mr. Turcotte, the 
new Solicitor-General East, had been defeated in St. Maurice, and 
it had not been deemed worth while to find another constituency 
for him, as the Ministry well knew that their reign was at an 
end, and that they would be unable to hold office after the vote 
on the Address. Sir Allan MacNab had again been returned for 
Hamilton, W. B. Robinson for Simcoe, and George Sherwood for 
Brockville. These were all the conspicuous ministerialists in the 
House, for there had been no important new accessions on that side 
as a result of the elections. It was significant, too, that some of the 
ministerial candidates, and even some of the Ministers themselves, 
had been returned by narrow majorities. 

Turning to the side of the Reformers, a very different state of 
affairs was disclosed. Not only had all the most conspicuous 
of the old members been returned by considerable majorities, but 
there were several important additions to their ranks. In Upper 
Canada Messieurs Baldwin and Price had swept the North and 
South Divisions of York respectively, against the Government 
candidates, Messieurs Gamble and Scobie. John Sandficld Mac- 
donald, who now acted with the Reform party, and was com- 
monly classed as a Reformer, had again been elected for Glen- 
garry. Lincoln had again returned W. H. Merritt, and Malcolm 
Cameron had been elected for Kent. Five Upper Canadian con- 
stituencies had been wrested by Reformers from their opponents, 
one of the most important victories of the five being in Leeds, 
where no less a personage than the Grand Master, Mr. Ogle R. 
Gowan, had been defeated by a sound and prosperous lawyer of 
Brockville, named William Buell Richards, as to whom more here- 
after. Mr. Gowan's public services were for the time lost to his 
party, and he did not again sit in Parliament until about ten 
years afterwards. Mr. Hincks, after more than four years' absence 
from public life, enjoyed the honour of being returned for his old 

Lafontaine Baldwin. 103 

constituency of Oxford, although he was himself out of the country 
at the time, and unable to take part in the canvass. Several 
months before the dissolution he had temporarily consigned the 
editorship of the Pilot to other hands, and had crossed the Atlantic 
on a visit to the home of his boyhood. In anticipation of a general 
election, he had before leaving Canada made provision for such a 
contingency, by consigning to trustworthy hands a declaration 
of qualification, as required by the statute in that behalf. The 
precaution was wise, as the election for Oxford came on at the 
end of December, 1847, at which time Mr. Hincks was still 
absent from Canada, and could not legally have been a candidate 
unless the statutory declaration had been forthcoming. His inter- 
ests would seem to have been well taken care of in his absence, as 
he was returned by a majority of 335 votes over his opponent, a 
local candidate named Peter Carroll. The returning officer, how- 
ever, Mr. John George Vansittart, was a strong partisan on the 
Tory side, and was guilty of most culpable partiality. Before 
the voting began an elector demanded the production of Mr. 
Hincks's declaration ot qualification. The document was handed 
to the returning officer by Mr. Hincks's agent, and the former 
at once perceived that it bore a date prior to that of the writ 
of election. This was owing to its having been signed and dated 
by Mr. Hincks before his departure, when it was not even known 
for certain that an election would take place during the winter. 
The returning officer made no objection at the time, but allowed 
the election to proceed. When the result was known, however, 
he announced that he would treat Mr. Hincks's return as a nullity, 
the declaration being dated before the writ of election, and Mr. 
Hincks not having furnished any legal declaration of qualification. 
He accordingly made a return to the effect that Mr. Carroll 
had been duly elected, and at the opening of the session that 
gentleman actually took his seat for Oxford, and voted on the 

104 Tlie Last Forty Tears. 

Speakership in favour of the ministerial candidate, Sir Allan Mac- 
Nab. This gross injustice to Mr. Hincks and to the electors was 
speedily remedied by the Assembly, which amended the return, 
declared Mr. Hincks duly elected, and reprimanded Mr. Vansittart 
at the bar of the House. Owing to Mr. Hincks's prominent posi- 
tion the affair made a great deal of noise throughout the Province, 
and aroused an amount of discussion altogether out of proportion 
to the magnitude of the event itself. Mr. Hincks returned to 
Canada in time to take his seat on the 1st of March, at which 
date Mr. Carroll's name was erased from the return, and Mr. 
Hincks's substituted therefor.* 

Among the new Upper Canadian members returned in the 
interests of the Opposition, several deserve somewhat more than 
mere mention. 

Reference has already been made to William Buell Richards, the 
new member for Leeds. Mr. Richards, who is still living, is well 
known throughout the Dominion, more especially throughout that 
part of it now called Ontario, where his life has been passed. 
Though he was for more than a quarter of a century an occupant of 
the judicial bench, and is now retired to private life, he is not yet 
an old man, and many years of health and usefulness, it is to be 
hoped, may yet be in store for him. He was born in 1815, at 
Brockville, in what was then the Johnstown District. His father, 
Mr. Stephen Richards, was a well-known resident of Brockville, 
where he for many years exerted a strong political influence on 
the Reform side, and where he was highly respected for his ster- 
ling integrity and shrewdness of judgment. The son studied law, 
and was called to the bar of Upper Canada in 1837. He settled 
down to practice in his native town, and was soon known as 
a successful lawyer. From an early age he had taken a warm 
interest in politics. He espoused Reform views, and during the 

* See Legislative Assembly Journals for 1848, p. 11. 

i-:. T<>K<>NT<>. 

Lafontaine Baldwin. 105 

contest with Sir Charles Metcalfe sympathized strongly with the 
advocates of Responsible Government. At the general election of 
1844 he was nominated for the county of Leeds, but retired in 
favour of his maternal undo, after whom he was named Mr. 
William Buell. The last-named gentleman contested the county 
with the Orange Grand Master, who was elected, and, as has been 
seen, represented Leeds all through the Second Parliament The 
election of January, 1848, reversed this verdict Mr. Richards 
offered himself in opposition to Mr. Gowan, and defeated that 
gentleman by a majority of sixty. He of course arrayed himself 
in Opposition during the brief interval which elapsed until the 
resignation of the Ministry. It may he as well to glance briefly 
at the subsequent events of his career. Upon the formation of 
the new Government he became one of its most efficient sup- 
porters. Though neither showy nor brilliant, he inherited his 
father's shrewd judgment and common sense, and was pronounced 
by Mr. Lafontaine to be the most logical thinker and debater 
in the Assembly. Upon the formation of the Hincks-Morin Gov- 
ernment towards the close of 1851 he accepted office in it as 
Attorney-General, and retained that portfolio until 1853, when 
he was appointed to a puisne* judgeship of the Court of Common 
Pleas for Upper Canada. In 18C3 he became Chief Justice of that 
Court, and in 18G8 was promoted to be Chief Justice of Upper 
Canada. Upon the establishment of the Supreme Court of the 
Dominion in 1875 he was appointed Chief Justice of it, and retained 
that dignity until 1879, when he voluntarily retired. As a judge he 
occupied a very high place in public esteem, and his decisions have 
always commanded the highest respect of both bench and bar. 

Joseph Curran Morrison, who still occupies a place on the 

judicial bench, svas the successful candidate for the West Riding of 

York. He was born in Ireland, of Scottish parents, in 1816, but 

settled at Little York (Toronto) in his boyhood, and has ever since 


106 The Last Forty Tears. 

resided there. He was educated at Upper Canada College, after 
which he studied law, and in 1839 was called to the bar. In 
1843 he became Deputy Clerk of the Executive Council of Canada, 
for the purpose of acting as Clerk of the Court of Error and Appeal. 
He resigned this position in December, 1847, in order to enter politi- 
cal life. He presented himself to the electors of West York as a 
" Baldwin Reformer," and though he was opposed by three different 
candidates he was returned by a considerable majority, and took his 
seat at the opening of the session in February. Subsequently, as 
will be seen, he held office in several Administrations. He attained 
high distinction at the bar, and was connected with many important 
cases, both civil and criminal. In 1862 he was appointed a puisne 
Judge of the Common Pleas, and in 1863 was promoted to the 
Queen's Bench. In 1877 he was transferred to the Court of 
Appeal. He is at the present time Senior Puisne" Judge of all the 
Courts in Ontario. 

William Notman is at the present day an almost forgotten name, 
but it belonged to a gentleman who, at the period under considera- 
tion, was a formidable power in the ranks of the Reform Paity in 
Upper Canada. He was born at Paisley, Scotland, early in the 
present century. While he was still a youth he came over to this 
country, where he had influential relatives, among whom was the 
Hon. James Crooks, of Flamboro', father of the present Minister of 
Education for Ontario. He studied for the bar, and was called in 
1827. Being a fluent and impressive speaker, he soon won his way 
to success in his profession, whereupon he began to devote his 
attention to politics. He opposed Mr. (afterwards Sir) Allan Mac- 
Nab in a contest for the representation of the old Gore District, 
before the Union. His candidature was unsuccessful, and though 
he was thenceforward an active member of the Reform party, he 
did not find a seat in Parliament until the period at which the 
history has now arrived, when he successfully contested the repre- 

Lafontaine Baldwin. 107 

sentation of the county of Middlesex with the late Mr. Ermatinger. 
From the very outset of his Parliamentary career he took a very 
conspicuous part in the proceedings in the Assembly, and was 
recognized as one of the most energetic and useful men in the 
House. He sat for Middlesex all through the Third Parliament. 
Upon presenting himself for reelection he was defeated, and for 
some years thereafter was out of public life. In 1857 he was 
returned for the North Riding of Wentworth, and continued to 
represent that constituency until his death, which occurred at his 
home in Dundas, in September, 18C5. Mr. Notman possessed fine 
social qualities, and was a man of many friends. Though his 
abilities were far above the average, and though he was very 
generally esteemed by all classes of politicians, he died without 
having achieved the dignity of a Minister of the Crown a posi- 
tion to which his public services well entitled him. 

An important name still remains to be mentioned that of 
William Hume Blake, father of the present leader of the Opposi- 
tion in the House of Commons of the Dominion. Mr. Blake was 
an Irishman, and a member of the family known as the Blakes of 
Castlegrove, in the county of Oalway. He was born at Kiltegan, 
in the county of Wicklow where his father, a clergyman of the 
Church of England, was Rector in 1809. He was educated at 
Trinity College, Dublin, and afterwards studied surgery for a time 
under Sir Philip Crampton. Finding that surgery was not to his 
taste, he began a course of theological study with a view to enter- 
ing the Church. He soon after resolved to emigrate to Canada. In 
1832, in company with an elder brother, and other relatives and 
i'rii'iiils. he carried out this resolution. He settled in the Canadian 
backwoods, in a remote corner of the township of Adelaide, in the 
county of Middlesex. There he had his eyes opened to the prosaic 
realities of a pioneer's life : a life for which his education and 
natural tastes rendered him singularly unsuited, although its 

108 The Last Forty Tears. 

novelty made it not unattractive to him. He soon resolved to 
abandon it. A son was born to him, whose education must for the 
future be a matter of importance. A suitable education was not to 
be had at such a distance from any seat of learning. This last con- 
sideration had great weight with him, and after spending several 
unprogressive years in the forest he removed to Toronto, where he 
studied law, and was called to the bar. 

Having at last settled down earnestly to a definite and congenial 
pursuit, he bent his powerful mind to the attainment of success. 
He soon achieved a foremost place in a profession which numbered 
in its ranks such eminent personages as William Henry Draper, 
Robert Baldwin, Robert Baldwin Sullivan, John Hillyard Cameron, 
Henry John Boulton, and John Hawkins Hagarty. He commanded 
and deserved success, and was soon known, not merely as an excel- 
lent and prosperous lawyer, but as an honourable and high-minded 
man. He impressed all who knew him with a sense of mental 
power. His squarely-cut brow, his earnest, expressive countenance, 
his tall, commanding presence, and the clear, mellow, resonant tones 
of his voice, all combined with his vigour of intellect to render 
him a formidable antagonist before a jury. In later times his 
power was equally conspicuous on the floor of the Assembly. He 
possessed in an unusual degree the faculty of sarcasm and invective. 
He had an elevated sense of man's responsibility to man, and when 
his anger was roused by any exhibition of injustice or low-minded- 
ness a not uncommon contingency his eye could assume the lurid 
glare of forked lightning, and passionate words rolled from his lips 
like a resistless torrent from the crater of a volcano. In reading 
the reports of some of his passionate outbursts, one is perforce 
reminded of the tumultuous outpourings of his illustrious country- 
man, the great Dean of St. Patrick's. His gestures at such times 
were vehement and overwhelming, and no man who wilfully stung 
him to fury was ever anxious to repeat the experiment. 

Lafontaine Baldwin, 109 

It was inevitable that one situated as he was, and possessed of 
such a mental constitution, should bestow considerable attention 
upon politics. He was naturally a man of Liberal instincts, but 
tli- condition of society at the time when he first took up his abode 
in Toronto doubtless tended to confirm him in his predilections. 
He was brought into contact with a state of things which, happily, 
has long passed away, but which, forty-five years ago, still flourished 
with some degree of vigour in the little capital of Upper Canada. He 
saw around him a clique of social oligarchs descendants of poor half- 
pay officers and broken-down gentlemen few of whom enjoyed the 
blessings of a liberal education, and fewer still of whom could boast 
of more than the most commonplace mental endowments. He saw 
tliis clique arrogating to themselves an exclusiveness and social 
superiority which were only saved from being ridiculous by the fact 
that they still retained sufficient social prestige to ostracise anyone 
who did not conform to their standard. He saw that the race was 
by no means to the swift. He also saw, what the feather-brained 
members of the clique failed to perceive, that their reign was 
rapidly drawing to a close, and that it was the duty of every 
well-wisher of his fellow-man to hasten its downfall. His just 
and generous mind revolted at the petty social tyranny which 
prevailed, and no public man of his time was more zealous in 
hi-, cttorts to redeem the institutions of his adopted country 
from the obloquy which had gathered round them. It was pro- 
luilily his misfortune, rather than his fault, that he was somewhat 
uncharitable in passing judgment upon the delinquencies of others. 
There was nothing low or base in his own nature ; he was guilty of 
no serious shortcomings, and was mentally incapable of making 
due allowance for the faults of those subjected to greater tempta- 
tions than he hiinsoli" lui'l ever known. But if he was somewhat 
stern and uncompromising in his relations with the outside world, 
no man was more genial or warm-hearted in the social and domestic 

110 The Last Forty Years. 

circle. He had within him a deep well of affection for his family 
and friends, who on their part regarded him with feelings little short 
of idolatry. There are persons yet living who cannot recall the 
memory of William Hume Blake without a sensation of huskiness 
in the throat. 

From the date of his call to the bar he was an active member of 
the Reform party in Upper Canada. It goes without saying that 
he sympathized strongly with the ex-Ministers in their contest 
with Lord Metcalfe for Responsible Government. At the first 
general election which ensued after their resignation he contested 
the Second Riding of York now the county of Peel with Mr. 
George Duggan, but Tory influences were for the time in the 
ascendant, and the vote of the electors was adverse to his candida- 
ture. He subsequently opposed the Hon. W. B. Robinson in Simcoe, 
and again sustained defeat. In January, 1848, however, during an 
absence in Europe, he was returned by a majority of more than 200 
for the East Riding of York now the county of Ontario where he 
was opposed by Mr. George Monro. Soon after his return to Canada 
he became Solicitor-General in the new Ministry, a position which 
he held for seventeen months. His elevation to the bench and 
his purification of the Court of Chancery will be referred to in 
the proper place. 

Colonel Prince again took his seat for Essex, where he had a firm 
hold upon the affections of the people. It was impossible to know 
exactly where to place him, or to predict what line he would take, 
for his mental constitution was such that he could never be kept 
amenable to party discipline. He was a man of independent 
opinions and most uncertain vote. Up to the opening of the session 
he was classed as " doubtful " by the press of both parties. As has 
already been seen, he then seconded the Address in Reply, and to 
that extent identified himself with the Government. From this 
time forward he was almost always found on the Conservative side. 


Lafontaine Baldwin. 1 1 1 

In Lower Canada the triumph of the Liberal party was even more 
significant than in the Upper section of the Province. Messieurs 
Lafontaine* and Holmes were returned by large majorities for the 
city of Montreal. In the city of Quebec Messieurs Aylwin and 
Chabot were reflected by acclamation. Messieurs Morin, Chauveau, 
Nelson and Cauchon were all reelected for their former constituencies, 
and Mr. Drummond was returned for the county of Shefford. The 
ministerial party were able to elect only five or six members out of the 
forty-two who represented Lower Canada, and two of these Mes- 
sieurs Daly and Badgley were actual members of the Government. 
Naturally enough, the French Canadians were jubilant at such a 
success. Their exclusion from a rightful share of power was no 
longer to be feared. 

The only new member from the Lower section of the Province 
who requires particular mention was a gentleman whose name has 
already frequently appeared in these pages, but who is now entitled 
to a more formal introduction. He bore the well-known name of 
Louis Joseph Papineau, and was the eldest brother of the gentleman 
who had recently resigned the Commissionership of Crown Lands. 
His career had been one of very remarkable activity, and he had 
once wielded a more portentous influence in his native Province 
than any other man of his time. 

He was born at Montreal on the 7th of October, 1786. His father, 
Joseph Papineau, was a prosperous notary of much force of character, 
win) was for many years a member of the Provincial Assembly of 
Quebec. Louis Joseph was from his earliest years a boy of rare 
promise : the pride of his father, and the spoiled darling of his 
mother. He received his education at the Seminary of Quebec, 
where he was known as a bright, precocious, impetuous lad, full of 

Mr. Lafontaine had a double return, having also been rcelected for Terrebonne. After 
the formation of the new Government he choee to lit for Montreal, and Mr. L. M. Viger, 
as subsequently mentioned in the text, WM returned for Terrebonne. 

112 The Last Fortj Tears. 

enthusiasm, and not easily kept in subordination. After leaving 
that institution he began the study of the law, and was called to the 
bar in 1811. Long before arriving at his majority he had become 
the leading spirit among a wide circle of clever French Canadian 
youths who regarded him as an intellectual prodigy. He wrote 
fervid articles in the newspapers, and found opportunities for 
making eloquent speeches to the people on various occasions. He 
early acquired an influence altogether disproportionate to his years. 
In 1809, before completing his legal studies, he was elected to the 
Assembly,* where he soon displayed very remarkable powers of 
oratory. He had a fine presence, and was a most impassioned 
speaker. His self-confidence was simply amazing in a youth of 
his years. He had become so accustomed to have all his efforts 
lauded to the skies that he regarded indiscriminate praise as 
nothing more than a fitting tribute to his genius. That his powers 
were far beyond those of the average young man of twenty-three 
must at once be conceded, and had his aggressive self-assertion 
been kept in check until mature age and experience had taught 
him moderation he would probably have developed into a wise 
and useful servant of the State. But the pedestal on which he 
was placed by the idolatry of his contemporaries imbued him 
with a self-suificiency which was disastrous to his mental develop- 
ment. He soon came to regard himself as a heaven-born legislator 
whose intuitive perceptions were the be-all and end-all of states- 
manship. His self-estimate was readily acquiesced in by an 
enthusiastic band of admirers, and he became the virtual head of a 

* A French Canadian writer of the present day thus describes Mr. Papineau's personal 
appearance at the time of his first taking his seat in the Provincial Legislature : " II avait 
a peine vingt-trois ans, une taille (jlevee, elegante, un buste magnifique, des traits aristocra- 
tiques, une tete pleine de fierte", de noblesse et d'intelligence, quelque chose de Lafayette 
et de Washington, 1'e'legance et la distinction francaiae unies a la majeste* anglaise, tous 
lea indices qui revelent 1'homme fait p-mr commander par la grandeur du caractere, la 
superiority de 1'intelligence. " Biographici et Portraits, par L.-O. David, p. 21. 


Lafontaine Baldu-i n. 113 

party of Nationalists who followed his lead without cavil or 
question. His wisdom and patriotism were doubted by none 
of his adherents, and were implicitly believed in by himself. 
The American invasion of 1812 interrupted, for a time, his career 
as a legislator. Like many others of his compatriots who dis- 
approved of the existing order of things, he yet had no desire 
to see Canada subjugated by a foreign power. He valiantly 
buckled on his sword, took the command of a company of volun- 
teers, and served until the close of the war. Upon the meeting 
of the Assembly early in 1815 he was elected Speaker of that body, 
the late incumbent, M. Jean Antoine Panet, having been called to 
the Legislative Council. Space forbids our following out the 
subsequent career of Mr. Papineau in detail. For the next twenty- 
two years his history is the history of Lower Canada. He was the 
most active spirit in the Province in organizing and conducting 
opposition to authority. The general course of events has been 
briefly outlined in former pages.* In 1822 he accompanied Mr. 
Neilson to England to oppose tho Imperial plan for uniting the 
Provinces, and aa a result of their mission the measure was 
withdrawn. There can be no doubt that he fought the battles 
of his compatriots with sincerity and zeal. Candour compels the 
admission that the high-handed acts of successive Governors 
afforded a just pretext for opposition on tho part of the French 
Canadians. It must at the same time be conceded that Mr. Papineau 
and his adherents carried on their opposition in a spirit of unreason- 
ing factiousness. They fanned the flames of hatred engendered by 
tin' bitter question of nationality, and so wrought upon the feelings 
of the people that they at length became ready for any indiscretion. 
For the Lower Canadian rebellion of 1837-'38, and for many of its 
disastrous consequences, Mr. Papineau must in all justice be held 
chietlv responsible. Soon aftor the actual outbreak a reward of a 

Vol. I., pp. 20-i. 

114 Tlie Last Forty Years. 

thousand pounds was offered by Government for his capture, and he 
sought safety in the United States. The circumstances under which 
his departure from Canada took place formed, in after years, a 
subject of hot dispute between him and his somewhile colleague, 
Dr. Wolfred Nelson. Mr. Papineau did not escape imputations upon 
his personal courage.* After remaining in the States about two 
years he crossed over to France. Being in good pecuniary circum- 
stances, and having the entree of pleasant society, his exile was not 
marked by any of the pathetic concomitants which usually attend 
upon enforced absence from one's native land. He spent about 
eight years in France, chiefly in the capital, where he enjoyed the 
companionship of many eminent personages. 

In 1843, through the exertions of Mr. Lafontaine, as has been 
seen,^ the entry of a nolle prosequi removed every obstacle to 
Mr. Papineau's return from exile. He did not return until 1847, 
and he found upon his arrival that during his ten years' absence 
Canada had got along very well without him. Time had dealt very 
gently with him, and he was still in the enjoyment of great physical 
and mental vigour, but he found that a dynasty had arisen which 
knew not Louis Joseph. Mr. Lafontaine was now the supreme 
head of the French Canadian people, and if he could not stir their 
blood as Mr. Papineau had been wont to do in other days, he was 
respected and trusted by them as a safe guide. As for Mr. Papineau, 
he seemed to have forgotten nothing and learned nothing. Exile, 
which must have been attended by more or less of study and reflec- 
tion, had not brought wisdom to that brilliant and showy, but 
withal visionary and superficial intellect. The self-confidence 
begotten of early adulation had persuaded him that he had nothing 
to learn, and he went through the remainder of his life with his 

* For a statement of both sides of the question, see Christie's History of Lower Canada, 
Vol. IV., p. 470 et teq. 

iAnte, Vol. I., p. 299. 

Lafontaine Baldwin. 1 1 ~> 

mind closed to new impressions. Of the high and broad purposes 
of real statesmanship he does not seem to have had any conception. 
Responsible Government he stigmatized as a cheat and a fraud. The 
Union of the Provinces was hateful in his eyes. A republic, in his 
estimation, was the only form of government suited to the then 
condition of Canada. He was wont to refer to the United States 
as "the classic land of liberty," and to " La Belle France " as " the 
instructress of Europe." The practical lessons of experience seemed 
to have been utterly thrown away upon him. He still believed that 
the uprising of a handful of habitans against the most powerful 
nation in the world had been a wise and discreet proceeding. 
British statesmanship ho regarded with distrust and suspicion. It 
is no grateful task to point out the weaknesses of a man who, with 
all his faults, was actuated by many high and noble impulses, 
but the simple fact of the matter is that much of Mr. Papineau's 
written and spoken oratory, after his return from exile, was neither 
more nor less than downright nonsense. As such it was recognized 
by the educated among his own compatriots, and even among the 
unlettered he never regained anything like his former influence. 
Such an intluence, indeed, was an impossibility under the constitu- 
tional form of government which had been conceded to Canada. 
There was no longer a high place in the country for any man whose 
only trade was that of an agitator. 

Soon after his return to Canada a large sum of money was voted 
to Mr. Papineau for arrears of salary as Speaker of the Lower 
Canadian Assembly.* Had he possessed true wisdom he would 
have recognized that his day was past, and would have kept 
aloof from the political disputes of the time. But he was not 
yet disposed to acknowledge that his eloquence had ceased to 

He was Speaker from the time of hi* first election in 1815 until the rebellion, except 
during tin- piTi...l i.f his absence in England aa a delegate with Mr. Neilaon to oppote 
the Union project in 1822. 

116 The Last Forty Years. 

sway his countrymen whithersoever he would. Soon after the 
announcement of a general election in December, 1847, he was 
returned to the Assembly for St. Maurice, and took his seat 
at the opening of the session, professedly as an independent 
member. Like Colonel Prince in Upper Canada, he was for a 
short time classed by both parties as " doubtful." All doubt, how- 
ever, was erelong removed, and he became the vehement opponent 
of the leaders of public opinion among his own countrymen. 

The only change in the composition of the Legislative Council to 
which it is necessary to refer arose from the demise of the Hon. 
John Neilson, who died at his residence, near Quebec, on the 1st of 
February, less than a month before the opening of the session. The 
principal facts in Mr. Neilson's life have already been set forth in 
this work.* Since his accession to the Upper House in 1844 he had 
been less conspicuously before the public than formerly, but his long 
connection with journalism and politics had stamped his name 
indelibly upon the history of his adopted country, and it may truly 
be said of him that he was mourned by the entire population of 
Lower Canada. His energy, his kindly feeling for the French 
Canadian people and their institutions, his high sense of duty, his 
earnest, unceasing efforts for the public good, and his blunt, 
unswerving honesty of purpose in all relations of life were recog- 
nized by all. His articles, contained in about thirty volumes of 
the Quebec Gazette, form invaluable material for a political history 
of the Lower Province during the period to which they refer. 
When Lord Elgin visited Quebec in October, 1847, Mr. Neilson 
took a prominent part in the honours paid to his Excellency. 
While reading an address from his fellow-citizens to the Governor- 
General he was exposed to a chilling rain, which brought on a 
malady which doubtless shortened his days. He continued, how- 

* Ante, Vol. I., pp. 91-03. 

Lafontaine Balditrin. 117 

ever, to discharge his editorial duties up to within a few hours of 
his death, and on the very night before that event occurred he 
wrote two impressive articles which appeared in the Gazette of the 
t"'l lowing day. He had passed the allotted term of three score and 
ten, having celebrated his seventy-first birthday in the preceding 
summer. He is still remembered with respect and affection by 
many persons to whom he was politically opposed. 

The number of able men who appeared in the ranks of the 
Opposition led the Ministry to anticipate rough handling during 
the debate on the Address. Such anticipatioas, however, were not 
realized, as the Opposition conducted themselves with great modera- 
tion. Pursuant to previous announcement, the Speech from the 
Throne was delivered on the 28th. The clause which gave the 
greatest satisfaction to the public was one intimating that the 
Home Government had taken into serious consideration the dis- 
tress and suffering occasioned by the immigration of the preceding 
year, with a view to avoiding a recurrence of such a state of affairs. 
Provincial legislation on the subject was also suggested for the 
purpose of discouraging undesirable immigration. The Address in 
rr|>ly was moved by Colonel Prince, and seconded by Mr. Christie. 
An amendment was moved by Mr. Baldwin, who made a calm, 
practical speech in his best vein, free from any attempt at declama- 
tion or oratorical effect. He reviewed at considerable length the 
hi-tory of the various phases of ministerial policy which had pre- 
vailed since the resignation of himself and his colleagues in Is I-. 1 !. 
He pointed out that the Government had never possessed public 
confidence ; that they had come into power through the unconsti- 
tutional practices of the late Governor, and that the feeble majority 
which they had at first possessed had long since failed them. The 
debate from first to last was vigorous, but more decorous than 
under the circumstances might reasonably have been expei-' 
The result was a vote of fifty-four to twenty in favour of tho 

118 TJie Last Forty Years. 

amendment. This was on Friday, the 3rd of March. That the 
Ministry should attempt to remain in office after such a vote was 
out of the question. On the following day they waited on the 
head of the Government and tendered their resignations. 

His Excellency was of course prepared for such a result, and at 
once put himself in communication with Mr. Lafontaine, to whom 
he entrusted the task of forming a new administration. Mr. Lafon- 
taine conferred with Mr. Baldwin, and the two entered upon the 
arrangement of details. On the evening of Wednesday, the 8th, Mr. 
Aylwin announced to the Assembly that the new Ministry was in 
process of formation, and would soon be complete. 

Notwithstanding the large Liberal majority in the Assembly, the 
formation of a Ministry was a task not unattended with difficulties. 
The difficulties, indeed, were increased by the number of persons 
eligible for office. It would have been easy enough to form a 
Ministry, but the object of Messieurs Lafontaine and Baldwin was 
to make such a selection as should combine the greatest possible 
strength with a due regard to the respective claims of the various 
elements in the population. They received great encouragement 
from the Governor, who was resolved that they should have a fair 
trial, and that there should not, if he could avoid it, be any repeti- 
tion of the " antagonism " upon which Sir Charles Metcalfe had 
laid so much stress in former years. " I spoke to them," wrote his 
Excellency a few days afterwards to the Colonial Secretary, " in a 
candid and friendly tone : told them that I thought there was a fair 
prospect, if they were moderate and firm, of forming an adminis- 
tration deserving and enjoying the confidence of Parliament ; that 
they might count on all proper support and assistance from me. 
They dwelt much on difficulties arising out of pretensions advanced 
in various quarters ; which gave me an opportunity to advise them 
not to attach too much importance to such considerations, but to 
bring together a Council strong in administrative talent, and to 

Lafonta ine Baldwin. 119 

take their stand on the wisdom of their measures and policy." * 
On the 10th, Mr. Lafontaine accepted office as Premier and 
Attorney-General, and for twenty-four hours was sole Minister. 
In the course of the same day all ministerial arrangements were 
completed, and on the llth the new Government came into power. 
Its composition was as follows : 


The Hon. L. H. Lafontaine, Attorney-General. 

" James Leslie, President of the Executive Council. 
" R. E. Caron, Speaker of the Legislative Council. 

E. P. Tache', Chief Commissioner of Public Works. 

T. C. Aylwin, Solicitor-General. 

L. M. Viger, Receiver-General. 


The Hon. Robert Baldwin, Attorney-General. 
R. B. Sullivan, Provincial Secretary. 
Francis Hincks, Inspector-General. 
J. H. Price, Commissioner of Crown Lands. 
Malcolm Cameron, Assistant Commissioner of Public 

Two of these gentlemen, Messieurs Caron and Sullivan, were 
already members of the Legislative Council. Mr. Leslief and Mr. 

Walr.m.l, p. 52. 

t Mr. Leslie WM a Scoto-Canadian, and had long been a well-known merchant of Mont- 
real. For sixteen yean before the Union he had represented Montreal in the Local 
AsscmMy. Kver since the Union he had sat in the Provincial Auembly for Verchen*. 
Hi- was a popular and an amiable man, and made a useful member of the Cabinet. 

120 The Last Forty Tears. 

Tache" * were appointed to that body on the 23rd of May following. 
Messieurs Lafontaine, Baldwin, Hincks, Aylwin, Price and Cameron 
were reflected in their respective constituencies without opposition. 
A seat was found for Mr. Viger in Terrebonne; Mr. Lafontaine 
having elected to sit for Montreal. The Solicitor-Generalship for 
Upper Canada, to which office a seat in the Cabinet was not 
attached, was reserved for Mr. Blake, who, as already intimated, 
had not yet returned from Europe. He arrived at the end of 
March, and on the 22nd of April accepted the office. He was 
reflected for East York without opposition in the following July. 

The new Government had little to fear from the Opposition, who, 
with Sir Allan MacNab and Mr. Sherwood at their head, could not 
muster more than a score of adherents. Probably no Government 
known to our history ever contained so many really able men. 
They were strong, not only by reason of their inherent elements of 
strength, but from the high respect in which they were held both in 
and out of Parliament. The great principle which they represented 
the principle for which their leading members had resigned office 
more than four years before, and for which they had ever since 
contended under many and serious disadvantages had at last 
triumphed. It had won recognition from the Colonial Office and 
from the Governor-General. Responsible Government was a reality, 
and yet the prerogatives of the Crown had suffered no loss. As for 
the Governor himself, he felt that the Province was about to pass 
through "an interesting crisis."^ The persons admitted to his con- 
fidence had been represented by Lord Metcalfe to Lord Stanley as 
disloyal and impracticable. The Colonial Secretary had accepted the 
representation as true, and had even taken the Governor's quarrel 

* Mr. Tach(S had vacated his seat in the Assembly on the 1st of July, 1846, upon his 
acceptance of the office of Deputy Adjutant-General of Militia for Lower Canada. He 
of course resigned that office upon becoming a member of the Government. 

t Walrond, p. 51. 

Lafontaine Baldwin. 121 

upon his own shoulders. In that quarrel, however, Lord Elgin felt 
that he was not involved. He had been sent out to Canada, not to 
perpetuate old animosities, but to govern the country constitu- 
tionally. He estimated men and measures as he found them, and 
he met his reward in the respect and loyalty of the new Govern- 
ment. He was not asked to surrender any of the privileges of the 
Crown.* The formidable opposition he was destined erelong to 
encounter certainly did not proceed from the people who had been 
denounced as disaffected and disloyal. The new Ministers soon 
came to know and admire him. His fine and genial temper, 
liis uniform kindness and courtesy, his keen and sympathetic in- 
sight into their numerous perplexities, and his unmistakable desire 
to do what was best calculated to promote the welfare of the 
people, were exhibited at every meeting of Council. He inspired 
all who came within the range of his personal influence with a 
degree of respect and love such as no previous Governor of Canada 
had ever been able to command. 

The session was brought to a close on the 23rd of March, within 
a fortnight after the formation of the new Government. The Min- 
isters, who were absent from Parliament seeking reelection in their 
respective constituencies, could not be expected to be ready with a 
policy within such a short time after taking office, and no good pur- 
pose was to be served by protracting the session. Before the change 
of Ministry Mr. Badgley had officially introduced a measure amend- 
ing the Indigent Immigration Act The necessity for legislation on 
this subject was urgent, and the measure had been hurried through 
all its stages and passed before the resignation. It was merely 
temporary in its operation, and provided for the imposition of an 
increased rate for each passenger arriving at Quebec or Montreal 

" I have tried both lyitems," he wrote in 1849. " In Junkie* there WM no Respon- 
sible Government, but I had not half the power I have here with my constitutional and 
changing Cabinet." Walrand, p. 125. 

122 Tlie Last Forty Years. 

from any British or European port. Stricter sanitary and quaran- 
tine regulations were also imposed upon masters of ships. The 
object and scope of the measure was to check pauper immigration, 
and to prevent the recurrence of such calamities as those of which 
the Province had recently been the theatre. This was the only Act 
of the short session to which special reference is necessary. The 
prorogation was opposed by Mr. L. J. Papineau, who, in an eloquent, 
but ill-timed speech, recommended the withholding of the supplies 
until the Government should disclose their policy. He deprecated 
the Act of Union, and suggested various constitutional changes. 
Of course the supplies were granted, and the only consequence of 
Mr. Papineau's speech was a warm debate, and the revival of sub- 
jects which true wisdom would have sought to bury in oblivion. 

In all works relating to Canadian history which have hitherto 
been published in the English language, that portion relating to 
the peiiod between the Union of 1841 and the formation of the 
second Lafontaine-Baldwin Ministry in 1848 is little more than 
a blank. The material for recording it, moreover, is practically 
inaccessible to the general public, being hidden away in official and 
private documents, in the columns of forgotten newspapers, in cum- 
brous Parliamentary journals, and in the memories of a few persons 
whose number is rapidly diminishing. For these reasons, the nar- 
rative of events during the period referred to has been given in the 
foregoing pages with some amplitude of detail. It will manifestly 
be impossible, however, consistently with the assigned limits of the 
present work, to record the history of the next thirty-three years 
with equal minuteness. In subsequent pages a more concise plan 
will be adopted ; but it is hoped that nothing has been or will be 
omitted which is essential to be known in order to enable the reader 
to form a clear idea of the national events of THE LAST FORTY 


"While congratulating Lord Grey on baring paned latiifactorily through a criU 
v. Ijicli might, under other circumstance*, have been attended with very Mrioui results, 
and in fact that at no period during the recent history of Canada had the people of the 
Province generally been better contented, or less disposed to quarrel with the mother 
country, Lord Elgin did not disguise from himself, or from the Secretary of State, that 
there were ominous symptoms of disaffection on the part of all three great sections of the 
i- "iiiimmitv." THEODOH* WALBOND, C.B. : Ltttert and Journal* of Jama, Eighth Earl of 
]>. 53. 

i HE change of Government left " the perpetual Secretary," 
Mr. Daly, without employment, and without any pur- 
pose to serve by remaining in Parliament ; for, as already 
stated, he had no well-marked political views, and was 
unsuited to public life. He had clung to office through 
all the various ministerial changes of the past seven 
\ ars, and would doubtless have done so to the end of the chapter 
had such a course been practicable. The loss of office was of course 
attended by loss of official income, and he felt that he was entitled 
to consideration at the hands of the Home Government. He 
however continued to represent the constituency of Megantic for 
a short time after his resignation, during which interval he chiefly 
devoted himself to urging li is claims upon Imperial attention. Those 
claims, supported, as they had been, by Lord Metcalfe, and as they 
continued to be by Lord Elgin, could not be ignored, and Mr. Daly 
erelong received assurances that suitable provision would be made 
for him. He accordingly vacated his seat in the Assembly and 

124 The Last Forty Years. 

repaired to England, where he was appointed a Commissioner of 
Enquiry into the claims of the New and Waltham Forests. The 
work of the Commission was completed in 1851, and during the 
same year he was appointed to the Lieutenant-Governorship of the 
island of Tobago. In 1854 he was transferred to the Government 
of Prince Edward Island, and on vacating that office in 1857 he 
received the honour of knighthood. In 1861 he was appointed 
Governor of South Australia, where he remained until his death in 

The year 1848 was attended with political disturbance throughout 
the greater part of Europe. In France the flames of revolution 
burst forth in February, and intelligence of the proclamation of the 
Republic and the flight of Louis Philippe reached Canada while 
Parliament was yet in session, and when the new Administration 
was little more than a week old. It was a period of anxiety to the 
representatives of monarchy all over the world, and Lord Elgin 
congratulated himself upon the strength and loyalty of the new 
Government. He was conscious that there were disaffected elements 
in the population, ready to seize any pretext for inflammatory 
appeals to anti-British sympathies. 

The French Canadians, while they had for the most part acqui- 
esced in the new order of things which came into being with the 
Union, had never been, and could not be expected to be, enthusiastic 
in their attachment to British institutions. The loyalty of a con- 
quered race is never deep-seated or profound. Mr. Papineau's return 
to Canada had tended to revive passions and feelings which had to 
a great extent been suppressed during his absence. His restless 
nature and disappointed ambition forbade him to remain quiescent. 
Popular applause was as the breath of his nostrils, and he was 
conscious of having been in a large measure supplanted by younger 
men. Mr. Lafontaine's hold upon the hearts of his compatriots was 
a sharp thorn in the flesh of the man whose ascendency had once 

Gathering Clouds, 125 

been undisputed and supreme. That Mr. Lafontaine and Mr. 
Papineau were both zealous for the welfare of the nationality to 
which they belonged is indisputable. The latter, however, was 
perpetually straining after unattainable ideals. Mr. Lafontaine, on 
the other hand, was able to distinguish between the practicable and 
the impracticable. It has been seen that so long as the accomplish- 
ment of the Union was a doubtful matter he opposed the project to 
the utmost of his power ; but when all his efforts proved abortive he 
accepted the inevitable, and bent his mind to making the most of 
what was within his reach. That in so doing he acted with true 
wisdom and patriotism will now be denied by few. To Mr. 
Papineau, however, such a policy was eminently distasteful. He 
put forth various appeals in which Responsible Government and 
the Union of the Provinces were denounced with unsparing vehe- 
mence. He gradually succeeded in rousing feelings which, while 
they did not actually menace the influence of Mr. Lafontaine, yet 
added to the difficulties of the Government, and increased the 
strength of the Opposition. 

Lord Elgin, however, did not fear much from French Canadian 
ilUloyalty, because the intelligence and good sense of the priesthood 
could always be appealed to. An excellent opportunity for concilia- 
tion presented itself during the recess in 1848, and his Excellency 
was wise enough to take advantage of it. An organization had been 
formed, with the Roman Catholic bishop and clergy at its head, for 
the purpose of colonizing the vacant lands of the Lower Province. 
The object was to settle the lands on the lower St. Lawrence and in 
other outlying districts with French Canadians theretofore unpro- 
vided with land. By this means the latter would have a stake in 
the colony, and be prevented from removing to the United States, to 
which country thousands of them annually migrated. In this 
organization Mr. Papineau discerned a medium for* extending his 
popularity and importance. A meeting was convened at Montreal 

126 TJie Last Forty Years. 

under the bishop's auspices for the purpose of maturing the coloni/.a- 
tion project. Mr. Papineau attended, and harangued a large audience 
after his most approved fashion. He characterized the British 
policy as selfish and aggressive, towards the French Canadians, and 
he laid at its door all the grievances to which his countrymen were 
subjected. One result of the meeting was the appointment of a 
deputation to wait upon his Excellency, with a view to securing 
Governmental cooperation in the scheme. Mr. Papineau and the 
bishop were both appointed members of the deputation, which soon 
after called upon Lord Elgin. An anti-British atmosphere had 
gradually surrounded the organization, and his Excellency might 
excusably enough have made this a pretext for refusing to entertain 
its proposals. " I had nothing for it," wrote the Governor, " but 
either, on the one hand, to give the promoters of the scheme a cold 
shoulder, point out its objectionable features, and dwell upon diffi- 
culties of execution in which case (use what tact I might) I should 
have dismissed the bishop and his friends discontented, and given 
Mr. Papineau an opportunity of asserting that I had lent a quasi 
sanction to his calumnies ; or, on the other, to identify myself with 
the movement, put myself in so far as might be at its head, impart 
to it as salutary a direction as possible, and thus wrest from Mr. 
Papineau's hands a potent instrument of agitation." * After reflec- 
tion, his Excellency chose the latter alternative, more especially as 
he sympathized with the movement to a considerable extent, well 
knowing that the most effectual means of advancing the interests of 
the colony was to fill up the vacant lands with a resident agricultural 
population. Mr. Papineau accordingly took little by his move, and 
the prestige of the Governor was perceptibly increased. The country 
derived untold benefits from the operations which were set on foot 
under Government auspices. Large tracts of vacant Crown Lands 
were thrown open to settlement, and roads were opened through 

* Walrond, p. 55. 

Gathering Clouds. 127 

them at the public expense. In unsettled portions of the Eastern 
Townships, along the Saguenay and St. Maurice rivers, and in 
other districts far removed from commercial centres, the huts of 
pioneers began to arise, and hitherto untilled fields were brought 
iiri'ler cultivation. In process of time new parishes were formed, 
and the church spire rose where a pathless forest had but recently 
stretched in wide expanse. The bishop and clergy had their reward, 
and emigration from Lower Canada to the States received a percep- 
tilile check. 

The Irish population also had their grievances, and were not slow 
or diffident in proclaiming them. In Ireland, the famine of 1847 
was followed by the insurrection of 1848, and the spirit which 
produced the latter was reflected very strongly on this side of the 
Atlantic. Several times in the course of the summer the Province 
was threatened with an invasion from across the borders. Irish 
orators came over from New York to stir up an agitation on the 
subject of repeal. The Governor watched the course of events very 
narrowly, but the collapse of the insurrection in Ireland put a 
stop to all efforts on the part of "sympathizers" on this continent, 
and the danger, if any there were, passed by. 

The grievances of the British commercial population were much 
more formidable, and called for a different method of treatment. 
They arose in great part from the Imperial Free Trade Act of 1846, 
whereby the advantages accruing from Lord Stanley's Act of 1843* 
\\vre lost to Canada. By the last-named statute Canadian wheat 
and flour were admitted into British ports at a nominal duty. This 
regulation made it profitable for Canadians to import grain from 
the United States, which they ground into flour in this country 
and then shipped to the English market. In order to carry on this 
enterprise successfully, large and costly mills and storehouses were 
necessary. Canadian millers, merchants and forwarders invested 

Ante.VoLI., p. 311. 

128 The Last Forty Years. 

large sums in such works in various parts of the Province, and in 
completing arrangements for carrying them on to the best advan- 
tage. The produce of the West was attracted to the St. Lawrence, 
and a large revenue accrued to the Province from canal dues. 
Scarcely were these arrangements effected ere the Act of 1846 
abolished the differential duties on the importation of foreign and 
colonial grain into the kingdom, and placed the merchants of the 
United States in a position equally favourable with our own 
in that particular. All advantages to the Province were lost. 
Produce at once sought new channels to United States ports, and 
thence to England. The result was ruin to many Canadian 
operators, and great loss to all. The revenue from canal duties 
fell off, insomuch that the colonial finances were crippled. What 
the petitioners of 1846 * had so much dreaded had now come to 
pass. The immediate effects were of course in the highest degree 
discouraging, and a moody feeling of discontent pervaded the 
mercantile community of Canada. Shackled by such restrictions 
as those under which they laboured, they could not hope to com- 
pete with the capital and enterprise of the United States in pro- 
secuting the carrying- trade. A large majority of the persons most 
seriously affected had always been zealous loyalists. They now 
considered that their loyalty had been ill requited by the mother 
country, and the conviction was forced upon them that their posi- 
tion would be improved by annexation. 

Lord Elgin could not fail to perceive that the grievances of the 
Canadian merchants were well-founded. He felt, however, that the 
true remedy for them was not a return to protection, but a further 
development of the Free Trade principle, in the repeal of the Im- 
perial Navigation Laws, which cramped the commerce of Canada by 
restricting it to British vessels, aud in a reciprocal reduction of the 
duties which hampered her trade with the United States. } In his 

Ante, pp. 38, 39. t Walrond, pp. CO, Cl. 

<!<i tin-ring Cloudt. 129 

correspondence with the Colonial Secretary, he urged the adoption 
of such a policy with great earnestness. A measure for repeal- 
ing the Navigation Laws was actually introduced by the Im- 
1'orial Government in the course of the year, and was supported 
by thoughtful statesmen as the only means whereby Great Britain 
could hope to retain possession of her colonies. It was vehemently 
opposed, however, and after running the gauntlet of the House of 
Commons was met by determined obstruction in the House of Lords. 
It did not actually become law until the summer of 1849. 

The discontent of the Canadian merchants and capitalists the 
greater part of whom, as above intimated, were Tory loyalists was 
increased by the advent to power of a Government largely con- 
trolled by " French Canadian rebels," as they were pleased to call 
Mr. Lafontaine and his co-nationalists. Amid such jarring elements 
the Governor had enough to do to preserve order, and to keep clear 
of giving offence. He, however, adopted a mild and conciliatory 
policy towards all classes, and busied himself with measures for the 
public good. His fixed resolve was to be true to the principles 
of Responsible Government. He directed his energies towards 
the negotiation of a treaty of reciprocity with the United States, 
in which, however, he did not succeed until six years afterwards. 
It was no easy matter to present a cheerful front, in face of the 
unsatisfactory condition of affairs. In addition to political discon- 
tent, great commercial depression prevailed throughout the Prov- 
ince. Three-fourths of the merchants were bankrupt, and real 
estate was practically unmarketable. As usual in such cases, most 
of the evils under which the colony groaned were charged by the 
sufferers upon the mother country. The Rebellion Losses question, 
to be hereafter more particularly dealt with, engrossed a good 
deal of attention during the year, and gave rise to much bitter 
controversy. The subject of electoral reform was also forcing itself 
to the front, more especially in Lower Canada, where Mr. Papineau 
made it a prominent plank in his own political platform. With 

130 The Last Forty Years. 

such various grounds of discontent and agitation the year 1848 
glided away. 

Various ministerial changes occurred between the prorogation in 
March and the close of the year. Mr. Blake, as has been seen, 
became Solicitor-General for Upper Canada in April. During the 
same month Mr. Aylwin resigned the corresponding office for the 
Lower section of the Province, and was appointed a Judge of the 
Court of Queen's Bench for the District of Quebec. The subse- 
quent events of his life may be briefly indicated. Upon the 
remodelling of the Provincial Judiciary soon afterwards he was 
transferred to the Court of Queen's Bench as then constituted, and 
for many years he continued to occupy that high position. His 
judicial career was one of singular brilliancy, but he succumbed to 
the infirmities of age somewhat earlier than might have been hoped.* 
He resigned his position a few years before his death, which took 
place at Montreal in October, 1871. 

He was succeeded in the Solicitor-Generalship by Mr. Drummond. 
The office was then dissociated from the Cabinet, and placed upon 
the same footing as that of Solicitor-General for Upper Canada. 

In September Mr. Sullivan resigned his post of Provincial Secre- 
tary, and succeeded the Hon. Jonas Jones as a puisne Judge of the 
Court of Queen's Bench for Upper Canada, a post which he occu- 
pied with honour and dignity until his death in April, 1853. He 
was succeeded in the Provincial Secretaryship by Mr. Leslie, whose 
place at the Council Board was taken by the Hon. W. H. Merritt.-f- 

By the elevation to the bench of Mr. Aylwin and Mr. Sullivan 
the Ministry lost two highly-valued members, and each of the two 
Houses lost its most brilliant orator. The Ministry, however, was 
strong in practical talent, and could afford the loss. Having 
matured various important measures, they were ready to meet 
Parliament, which was summoned for the 18th of January, 1849. 

Ante, Vol. I., p. 91. tFor information .as to Mr. M. rritt, see Vol. I., pp. 102, 10'!. 


" The quention really was a struggle between parties, in which, happily, neither the 
Governor nor the English Government took either side ; and, therefore, loudly u the 
Opposition cried for dissolution, or for a reference home, the vote was rightly allowed to 
pan, and the claims of Representative Government, at this early crisis, were upheld by 
tin- i M.vcrnor at the risk of his life." ADDKRLEY'S Review of The Colonial Policy of Lord 
J. Ruurll's Ailminittration, by Earl Grey ; pp. 31, 32. 

HE session of 1849 was one of the most memorable in 
Canadian annals, not only by reason of much important 
legislation, but from the startling and disastrous events 
1 whereby it was characterized. Parliament assembled 
at the date appointed. Had any one ventured to predict 
that it was the last time that a Canadian Parliament 
*ould meet at Montreal he would probably have been laughed at 
for his pains ; yet the event would have justified the prediction. 

Several new members had been appointed to the Legislative 
Council since the close of the previous session. Among them was 
Mr. John Ross, who subsequently, as will hereafter be seen, attained 
to high political distinction. He was of Irish birth, but accom- 
panied his parents to Canada in his infancy. He studied law at 
Brockville, an<l in <lue time was called to the bar, at which he won 
a high reputation and a large practice. He early became an active 
politician, and a disciple of Robert Baldwin, whose daughter he 
married. He was summoned to the Legislative Council on the 1st 
of December, 1848. 

In the Assembly the most conspicuous name on the roll of new 

132 Tfie Last Forty Years. 

members was undoubtedly that of George Etienne Cartier, a gentle- 
man said to have been descended from a nephew of the renowned 
discoverer of Canada. He was destined to achieve a reputation 
great enough to enable him to dispense with ancestral honours, and 
to win a very prominent place in the history of his country, though 
his fame is to some extent sullied by his connection with trans- 
actions which cannot be referred to otherwise than with reprobation. 
He was born at St. Antoine, in the county of Vercheres, in 1814, 
and was educated at the College of St. Sulpice, Montreal. Having 
studied law in the office of M. Edouard Rodier, a well-known 
advocate of those times, he was called to the bar, and began practice 
at Montreal in 1835. Being a clever young avocat he of course 
turned his attention to politics, and equally of course he soon 
came under the influence of Mr. Papineau. He joined the Sons of 
Liberty, and in 1837 took an active part in the rebellion. He 
fought bravely at St. Denis under Dr. Nelson, and was compelled to 
fly the country and seek refuge in the United States. After a time 
he secretly returned, and remained in hiding until an unofficial 
intimation from the authorities assured him that no attempt would 
be made to arrest him if he conducted himself with discretion. He 
accordingly resumed the practice of his profession at Montreal, and 
did not come conspicuously before the public until about ten years 
afterwards, though he continued to take a keen interest in the 
political events of the time. He had always cherished an ambition 
to sit in Parliament, and when Mr. Leslie, the member for Vercheres, 
was nominated to the Legislative Council as already mentioned, in 
May, 1848, he believed that his opportunity had arrived. He 
offered himself to the electors as Mr. Leslie's successor, and was 
returned. " He could not," says a Canadian writer recently deceased, 
"have made his entry into public life at a more favourable moment 
for a man of the liberal tendencies which then dominated him. . . 
A seat in the Assembly in the time of Baldwin and Lafontaine was 

Rebellion Losses. 133 

in itself a political education, and Cartier was an apt learner."* His 
Parliamentary career will from time to time be referred to in 
MI 1 'sequent pages. It may meanwhile be remarked that, though he 
attained to high place and influence, he lacked most of those qualities 
which go to the making of a great statesman. His perception was 
keen, but narrow. He had not the easy and dignified self-possession, 
the massive force of understanding, the calm and accurate judgment 
which distinguished Mr. Lafontaine. He was equally a stranger to 
the high, unselfish views, and the far-seeing political wisdom of Mr. 
Morin. Though he could speak to the pui-pose, on a subject in 
which he was interested, he was in no sense an orator. He could 
not hold an audience spell-bound by the sheer force of his eloquence, 
like Mr. Papineau. He was small of stature, and though he was 
quick and nervous in his gestures and eager and vivacious in 
expression, his voice was deficient in softness, and his language was 
wanting in that brilliancy and speciousness which tell so effectively 
upon a French audience. He could not brook contradiction, and was 
easily roused to anger, insomuch that men of inferior capacity, by 
playing upon his foible, frequently had him at a disadvantage. 
Still, his energy, aggressiveness, and capacity for organization, made 
him an undoubted Parliamentary force, and one which no party 
leader could afford to despise. 

Two other new members, though they were not elected until after 
the opening of the session, may as well be introduced here, as they 
both figured conspicuously in the ensuing debates, as well as in those 
of many subsequent sessions. 

Adam Johnston Fergusson was a son of the Hon. Adam Fergusson 
mentioned on a former page,^ and was born in Perthshire, Scotland, 
in 1815. He emigrated thence to Canada in 1833, and settled with 

See " Canadian Portrait Oallery," Vol. I., p. 77. The .ketch of M. Cartier wai 
written by the late Mr. Samuel Jamet Wataon, of Toronto. 

Mtrit, Vol. I., p. 109. 

134 The Last Forty Years. 

his father in the neighbourhood of Hamilton. He began the study 
of the law soon after his arrival in the country, and was called to the 
bar of Upper Canada in 1839. He embraced the Reform side in 
politics, and at the general election succeeding the dissolution in 
December, 1847, contested the county of Waterloo with Mr. James 
Webster. The latter was declared to be the successful candidate, 
and took his seat in the Assembly at the opening of the session of 
1848, but on the 8th of February, 1849, the election was declared 
void, and Mr. Fergusson took his seat for the constituency. He 
remained in the Assembly until 1860, when he was elected to the 
Legislative Council for Brock Division. He held office in two 
Administrations, and at the time of his death in 1867 was President 
of the Council in the Dominion Cabinet. During the latter years 
of his life he was known by the name of Fergusson-Blair, the 
additional surname having been assumed in 1862, upon his accession 
to certain estates. He was a man of some practical ability, and much 
esteemed by the party to which he was attached. 

The other new member above referred to was the gentleman who 
now occupies the post of High Commissioner of the Dominion in 
Great Britain, and is known to us in these latter days as the Hon. 
Sir Alexander Tilloch Gait. He is the youngest son of John Gait, 
the well known Scottish author, who came out to Canada in 1824 as 
a Commissioner of the Canada Company. Alexander was born at 
Chelsea, London, England, in 1817. Like his father before him, he 
early displayed a fondness for literary pursuits, but his mind was 
turned in another direction by his appointment, in his seventeenth 
year, to a situation in connection with the British American Land 
Company, which compelled him to cross the Atlantic and take up 
his abode in the Eastern Townships. He developed great capacity 
for business, and rose steadily in the service of his employers. In 
1844 he attained the post of Chief Commissioner. His services are 
said to have converted the affairs of the Company from a state of 


Rebellion Losses. 135 

insolvency to one of commercial soundness and prosperity. In 
politics he held Liberal opinions, but he was then, as he has ever 
since been, a man of moderate views, and was not formally allied 
with any party. A vacancy occurring in the representation of the 
county of Sherbrooke, he was elected to the Assembly for that con- 
stituency on the 17th of April, 1849, just in time to enable him to 
take part in the fiercest debate known to the Parliamentary history 
of Canada. Mr. Gait will figure prominently in future pages, and 
his subsequent career need not occupy us further in this place. He 
is known as a man of high principle, and of great financial ability ; 
as a sensible and impressive, though not remarkably eloquent 
speaker ; and as an advocate of moderate and cautious views, as 
\\vll in politics as in finance. 

At the opening of the session Lord Elgin took advantage of the 
I mprrial enactment repealing the restriction on the use of the French 
language, and delivered the Speech from the Throne in both lan- 
guages a proceeding very gratifying to the feelings of the French 
Canadians, though it brought down upon his Excellency's head the 
maledictions of the Tory press. As for the Speech itself, it was full 
of matter. It announced Her Majesty's purpose of exercising the 
prerogative of mercy in favour of those persons who had taken part 
in the occurrences of 1837-'38, and the passing of an Act of Indemnity 
by the Provincial Parliament was suggested.* Imperial legislation, 
it was said, would soon confer upon the local authorities the entire 
control and management of the Provincial postal system. The subject 
of increased Parliamentary representation was recommended to the 
attention of the Houses. With regard to the repeal of the Naviga- 
tion Laws by the Imperial Parliament, his Excellency observed that 
liis representations on the subject had been cordially responded to. 
Among other subjects mentioned as likely to occupy the attention 

Durinit the previous session an Addreu praying Her Majesty to grant a general 
amnesty had been pa- \ snembly . 

136 The Last Forty Years. 

of the Assembly were the system of Judicature in both sections of 
the Province, the municipal laws, and the constitution of the 
University of King's College. 

The Address in Reply was passed unanimously in the Legislative 
Council. In the Assembly it of course encountered opposition,* 
but after a long and heated debate it was passed by a majority of 
forty-eight to eighteen, and the legislative business of the session 
was proceeded with.-f Both Houses concurred in an address to the 
Queen urging the early repeal of the Navigation Laws, which was 
at once forwarded by Lord Elgin to the Home Office. 

One of the earliest measures passed was the Amnesty Bill, which 
was similar in its purport to a measure that the first Lafontaine- 
Baldwin Ministry had been desirous of carrying in 1843, at which 
time Mr. Lafontaine had vainly pressed Sir Charles Metcalfe to 
consent to it. It now encountered no serious opposition from any 
quarter. It was introduced by Mr. Lafontaine, and passed through 
its several stages with such celerity that his Excellency was enabled 
to give his assent to it on the 1st of February. The only conspicuous 
personage to take advantage of it was William Lyon Mackenzie, for, 
although Sir Charles Metcalfe could not be induced to consent, in 
1843, to a general amnesty, \ he had been prevailed upon to grant 

* Sir Allan MacNab was the actual leader of the Opposition in the Assembly through- 
out the session, though Messieurs Sherwood, Cayley and Badgley all assumed special 

fMr. Papineau took a very active part in the debate on the Address, and moved amend- 
ments which were voted down by overwhelming majorities. He of course availed himself 
of the opportunity to inveigh against the Union Act. 

J Considerable misapprehension appears to exist on this subject, owing in some measure, 
doubtless, to inaccurate statements in Mr. Lindsey's "Life and Times of William Lyon 
Mackenzie." It is there alleged that "by the end of the year 1843 an amnesty not 
general, but very comprehensive had enabled numerous political exiles to return to 
Canada." (Vol. II., p. 290.) This is altogether erroneous. No amnesty, comprehensive or 
otherwise, was granted in 1843, nor at any time prior to 1849. Those exiles who returned 
to Canada before the last named date did so either by virtue of special pardons granted 
under the Great Seal, or in consequence of the official discontinuance of proceedings 

Rebellion Losses. 137 

a number of special pardons, under which all the leading " patriots " 
of 1837-'38, with the single exception of Mr. Mackenzie, had been 
enabled to return to Canada.* Mr. Mackenzie at this time resided in 
New York. Life had been a bitter struggle with him during his 
eleven years' sojourn in the United States. He had endured many 
privations, and had lost his enthusiasm for republican institutions. 
He now hastened to avail himself of the provisions of the Amnesty 

against them, as in the cases mentioned on p. 299 of the first volume of this work. " Three 
yean after," proceeds Mr. Lindsey, " Mr. Isaac Buchanan wrote to Sir Robert Peel and 
Lord Palmerston, begging that they would have Mr. Mackenzie included in the amnesty. 
The reply was that before this would be done the Canadian Ministry must recommend 
the measure. But the latter were averse to such a course, and to them alone his con- 
tinued exclusion from Canada was owing. The remembrance of this circumstance pro- 
bably infused some gall into his opposition to the men who composed this Ministry after 
his return to Canada." ("Life and Times of Mackenzie," Vol. II., pp. 290, 291.) 
There is evidently a good deal of misapprehension here. Imprimit, Sir Robert Peel resigned 
office in June, 1846, and was not in power at the time indicated viz. , three yean from the 
end of 1843. But greater confusion remains behind. At the time when Mr. Buchanan 
is said to have applied to Sir Robert Peel and Lord Palmerston a Tory Government were 
in power in Canada, and it was not surprising that they should decline to recommend an 
amnesty to Mr. Mackenzie. But it certainly it surprising that their doing so should hare 
" infused gall " into Mr. Mackenzie's opposition to their steadfast opponents, the Reform 
Ministers whom he found in power upon his return. The passage is so dubiously worded 
that it is not easy to know precisely who were the men against whom Mr. Mackenzie's 
opposition is said to have been directed. Possibly the idea intended to be conveyed is that 
his "gall " was directed against the Tory ex -Minis tern, or such of them as still remained in 
Parliament. But it is evident that Mr. Mackenzie (whose opinions are doubtless accurately 
reflected in his biographer's pages) cherished a feeling of soreness against the Lafontaine- 
Boldwin Ministry which he found in power on his return to Canada ; and this, coupled 
with the fact that after his election to the Assembly he opposed the measures of that 
Ministry, leads to the conclusion that they, and not their predecessors in office, are the 
persons indicated as the objects of his "gall." We are told that upon his return he found 
Responsible Government administered by persons, "only one of whom, Mr. Hlncks, paid 
the least attention to the man who had been reviled as its author so long as it was deemed 
odious and unpopular." (" Life and Times," Vol. II., p. 293.) There was no reamn why 
the Government should pay Mr. Mackenzie any special attention. As matter of fact, 
however, they had been unanimously in favour of procuring an amnesty whereby he might 
be enabled to return from exile, and had not shrunk from the responsibility of urging it 
upon t In- iitli ntinn of Parliament at the earliest moment when such a course was practicable. 
To assert that they did so in consequence of pressure from " Mr. Hume and others," as 1* 
said on p. ^92, Vol. II., of Mr. Lindsey's work, is simply to violate historical truth, although 
M r. M :n-k .],/(. , 1. .ul itl.-ss believed the contrary , and impressed his belief upon his biographer. 
Ante, Vol. I., p. 299. 

138 Tfie Last Forty Tears. 

Act, and returned to the Province where he had once played so 
prominent a role. His return was ill-timed, for, as will presently 
be seen, the country was then excited by the discussion on the 
Rebellion Losses Bill. His arrival in Toronto was followed by a 
certain amount of local disturbance. A demonstration verging on a 
riot was set on foot by a mob, and Mr. Baldwin and Mr. Blake 
were burned in effigy in the street.* 

A very important measure was Mr. Baldwin's University Bill, in 
connection with which subject a brief historical retrospect seems 
desirable. More than twenty years before this time, while Sir 
Peregrine Maitland was Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Canada, a 
charter authorizing the establishment of a college, to be called 
" King's College," with the style and privileges of a university, " at 
or near the town of York," was granted by His Majesty King 
George IV. The grant was largely due to the influence of Dr. 
(afterwards Bishop) Strachan, who, as every Canadian knows, was 
a most zealous upholder of the doctrines and discipline of the Church 
of England. By the terms of the charter the proposed institution 
was to be sectarian in its character, it being enjoined that the Chan- 
cellor, President, and such professors as might be appointed to the 
College Council should be members of the Church of England, and 
should severally subscribe the Thirty-nine Articles as set forth 
in the Book of Common Prayer. A patent was subsequently issued 
endowing the institution with part of the lands which had been set 
aside for educational purposes by the Crown towards the end of 
last century. When the exclusive terms of the charter became 
known there was widespread dissatisfaction throughout the Prov- 
ince. Though the doctrines of the Church of England were socially 
in the ascendant, the population of Upper Canada was largely com- 
posed of adherents of other denominations, and there was a very 

See the Olobf, March 24th, 1849. 

Rebellion Losses. 139 

general feeling that the government and discipline of the institution 
should be free from all sectarian bias, so that the rights and privi- 
leges of all might be maintained without offence to the religious 
opinions of any. Numerous petitions were presented, praying for a 
repeal or modification of the charter. In 1837 the Local Assembly, 
by authority of the Home Government, passed an Act removing 
many of the objectionable features of the charter, but certain 
restrictions still remained, and it failed to meet the wishes of dis- 
senters, as well as of many liberal-minded members of the Church 
of England. The scheme of establishing the university, however, 
which had remained in abeyance since the granting of the charter, 
was now pushed forward. A building of great size was projected, 
and a wing of it was actually erected in what is now known as 
the Queen's Park, Toronto. As mentioned on a former page,* the 
foundation stone was laid by Sir Charles Bagot in April, 1842. 
The institution was opened for the admission of students somewhat 
more than a year afterwards, but it in no sense met the popular 
demand, and a continual agitation was kept up against it Mr. 
Draper's Government, as has already been seen.f endeavoured to 
conciliate public opinion by introducing a measure for establishing 
a university embracing three denominational colleges, but Church of 
England influence was too powerful in the Assembly, and the Bill 
was withdrawn. Mr. Baldwin, though a sincere Episcopalian, recog- 
nized the injustice of maintaining a sectarian institution out of 
Provincial funds, and did not hesitate to grapple with the difficulty. 
His Bill amended the charter of King's College, abolished the faculty 
of divinity and all other denominational restrictions, enlarged the 
powers of Convocation, and established a purely non-sectarian seat 
of learning, under the name of " the University of Toronto." Dr. 
Strachan's desire to preserve the Provincial University as an essen- 
tially Church of England institution was thus frustrated, and he 

Antt, VoLI., p.191. *Ante, p. 13. 

140 The Last Forty Years. 

applied himself with characteristic energy to the establishing of a 
seat of learning in accordance with his views. The outcome of his 
exertions was the founding, several years later, of the University of 
Trinity College, Toronto. 

Several railway bills were passed during the session. For some 
years past evidences had not been wanting that the old methods 
of travel and transportation would have to be abandoned, and 
that the railway carriage was destined to supersede the cumbrous 
forwarding wagon. Many leading merchants and capitalists of 
the Province had begun to grasp the main points of the situation, 
and to form plans in accordance with the new order of things. 
During the last few years many railway charters had been obtained 
from Parliament, but very little had been done in the way of actual 
construction. As early as 1836 a horse-railway had been opened, 
connecting Laprairie, on the St. Lawrence, with St. Johns, on the 
Richelieu, and a year later locomotives were employed upon it. In 
1839 the Erie and Ontario Company opened a line of horse-railway 
between Queenston and Chippewa, but the steepness of the grades 
was such that it could not be worked satisfactorily, and soon fell 
into disuse. In 1845 a charter was obtained by the St. Lawrence 
and Atlantic Railway Company, for a line to connect with the At- 
lantic and St. Lawrence Company of Portland, Maine. This line, by 
amalgamation, subsequently developed into the Grand Trunk.* In 
1846 the Lachine Railway, which also now forms part of the Grand 
Trunk, was begun. The legislation of 1849 plainly indicated that 
the era of railways had fairly set in in Canada. An Act was passed 
guaranteeing the interest on loans to be raised by any company 
chartered by the Legislature for the construction of a line not less 
than seventy-five miles in extent. This measure gave an additional 
impulse to railway construction, and was eagerly taken advantage 

*On the subject of Canadian railways generally, see "Eighty Years' Progress of 
British North America," p. 190 tt uq., and Trout's " Railways of Canada," pastim. 


o -_ 


H * 


Rebellion Losses. 141 

of by various enterprising companies. The Great Western, the 
Northern, and the St. Lawrence and Atlantic Railways were all 
materially assisted in their development by this Act.* 

Acts were also passed making additional provision for the admin- 
istration of justice in both sections of the Province. In Lower 
Canada the establishment of a Court of Queen's Bench having 
appellate jurisdiction in criminal matters was provided for. In 
Upper Canada the Court of Common Pleas and the Court of Error 
and Appeal were established, and important changes were intro- 
duced into the practice and organization of the Court of Chancery. 
The last-named Court had long been a by-word and a reproach. 
Since its original establishment in 1837 the Chancellorship had been 
vested in the Crown. The Vice-Chancellor and sole Judge was the 
Hon. Robert Jameson, mentioned on former pages, f This gentle- 
man was a fairly efficient jurist, but he had given way to personal 
infirmities, and had allowed the business of the Court to fall greatly 
into arrear. Suitors were sometimes unable to obtain decrees after 
years of delay, and there was an utter want of order and arrange- 
ment in the procedure. The Chancery Act of 1849 was prepared by 
the Solicitor-General, Mr. Blake, but was introduced by Mr. Baldwin, 
who was solely responsible for its provisions. It increased the num- 
ber of judges to three, and established a system of procedure which, 
capably directed, as it was, soon rescued the Court from the odium 
which had gathered round it. The question at once arose as to 
who was the proper person to be appointed to the onerous and dig- 
nilifd office of Chancellor. The profession, almost with one voice, 
i in Heated Mr. Blake himself as the most suitable person in the 
Province for the position. Mr. Blake had entered upon what would 
certainly have been a very brilliant Parliamentary career, which 
he was loth to forego. Though he had been only two sessions in 

Canada : 1849 to 1859," by the Hon. A. T. Glt, p. 26. 
t Ante, VoL I., pp. 108, 109, 318. 

142 2?4e Last Forty Years. 

the Assembly he had made a reputation which the oldest Parlia- 
mentary veteran might well have envied. He however yielded to 
the pressure of Mr. Baldwin and others, and on the 1st of October, 
1S49, became Chancellor of Upper Canada. The result fully justi- 
fied the sanguine predictions of the profession, and the judgments 
of the Court of Chancery soon inspired the respect which was justly 
their due. It may be added that Mr. Blake retained the Chancellor- 
ship until March, 1862, when failing health compelled him to relin- 
quish it. He died in Toronto in 1870. Mr. Jameson continued to 
sit as Vice-Chancellor until the end of 1850, when he was permitted 
to retire on a pension. 

A ministerial measure to increase the number of Parliamentary 
representatives from 84 to 150 i.e., 75 from each section of the 
Province, instead of 42 was withdrawn, the Ministry being unable 
to obtain a two-thirds vote* in its favour, as required by the 
twenty-sixth section of the Union Act with respect to any measure 
for making a new apportionment of ridings and representation. 

Among the other important legislation of the session were an Act 
providing for a complete system of municipal organization in Upper 
Canada; an Act amending the law relative to duties of Customs, 
whereby considerable change was made in the tariff; a new Act 
regulating the admission of Immigrants into the Province ; a new 
School Act for Upper Canada, and an amended one for the Lower 
section of the Province. The great question relating to the Clergy 
Reserves, which will hereafter claim careful consideration, also 
came before the Assembly, but the time had not yet arrived for 
dealing with it. 

The entire legislation of the session, including five reserved bills, 
consisted of no fewer than 200 measures. The most noteworthy one 

The full representation beinj? 84, the number of votes (two-thirds of the whole) 
required to carry the measure was 50. The number of members who voted for it was 55, 
BO that a single additional vote would have carried it. 

Rebellion Losses. 143 

of them all, in view of its immediate and ultimate results, yet 
remains to be mentioned the famous Rebellion Losses Bill. 

As its name imports, this Bill was a legacy bequeathed by the 
troubles of 1837-'38. No sooner had the insurrection been put down 
than measures were set on foot in both Provinces to compensate 
those loyal subjects who had suffered direct pecuniary loss by it. 
Legislation on the subject was introduced into the Upper Canadian 
Assembly early in 1838, and on the 6th of March in that year an 
Act was passed authorizing the appointment of Commissioners to 
investigate the claims of " certain loyal inhabitants " for losses sus- 
tained during " the late unnatural rebellion." Commissioners were 
accordingly appointed, and in due time they made their report, which 
was the basis of further legislation during the session of 1839.* In 
Lower Canada the Special Council in like manner made some provi- 
sion by Ordinance for the recompense of loyalists whose property had 
been destroyed by rebels. But such legislation as this did not fully 
meet the requirements of the case. There had been considerable wil- 
ful and incidental destruction of property by persons acting in support 
of authority, and it was felt that the persons aggrieved thereby were 
entitled to compensation. The Upper Canadian Acts and the Lower 
Canadian Ordinance failed to provide for compensation in such cases, 
and supplementary legislation was thought desirable. There was 
much discussion on the subject, but no further legislative action waa 
taken until the first session after the Union, when an Act was passed 

* For minute information as to the various Act* relating to this subject prior to the great 
measure of 1849, see "The Question* : Was the Late Rebel- Paying Measure forced on the 
Present Ministry by their Predecessors ? and is that BUI a Transcript of the Rebellion 
Claim Bill for Upper Canada," etc., etc.; Montreal, 1819. See also "The Question 
Answered : Did the Ministry intend to pay Rebels?" Montreal, 1849. The pamphlet 
last-named is understood to hare been the joint production of Mr. Hugh E. Montgomerie 
and Mr. now the Hon. Alexander Morris. The former was a clever young Tory 
journalist of Montreal, and Vice-President of the Shakspeare Club of that city. He was 
arrested and imprisoned for instigating the mob to riot in connection with the Rebellion 
Losses Bill. He returned to Great Britain soon afterwards, and now resides there. Mr. 
Morris was then a law student in the office of the ex- Attorney -General, Mr. Badgley, in 

144 The Last Forty Years. 

by the United Parliament extending the compensation to loss occa- 
sioned by violence on the part of persons " acting, or assuming to 
act" on Her Majesty's behalf, "in the suppression of the said rebellion, 
or for the prevention of further disturbances." This statute, however, 
was restricted in its application to Upper Canada, and the subject, so 
far as the eastern section of the Province was concerned, was allowed 
to remain in abeyance until February, 1845, when the Assembly 
passed an Address to Sir Charles Metcalfe, praying that his Excel- 
lency would be pleased to cause proper measures to be adopted " in 
order to insure to the inhabitants of that part of this Province 
formerly Lower Canada, indemnity for just losses during the rebellion 
of 1837 and 1838." The prayer was granted, and Commissioners 
were appointed to enquire into the losses sustained by " Her Majesty's 
loyal subjects, in that part of the Province of Canada which formerly 
constituted the Province of Lower Canada, during the late unnatural 
rebellion, . . and arising and growing out of the said rebellion." 
The Commissioners were instructed to distinguish the cases of persons 
who had joined or aided the rebellion from those who had not. In 
attempting to act upon these instructions the Commissioners soon 
found themselves in difficulties, and applied, through their secretary, 
for information as to how the distinction was to be made. This 
was on the llth of February, 1846. Earl Cathcart had succeeded 
to the post of Governor-General. It will be remembered that Mr. 
Draper's Government were then in power, and that they stood sorely 
in need of French Canadian support. They felt that this subject of 
rebellion losses was a dangerous one, and they were doubtful as to 
what was the wisest policy for them to adopt with respect to it. 
They accordingly temporised. The Provincial Secretary was in- 
structed to reply to the secretary to the Commission to the effect 
that it was not his Excellency's intention that the Commission- 
ers "should be guided by any other description of evidence than 
that furnished by the sentences of the Courts of Law ;" that the 

Rebellion Losses. 145 

Commissioners had no power to call for either persons or papers ; 
that they must bo satisfied with such general evidence as the claim- 
ants might produce ; and that they were intended to obtain merely a 
general estimate of the rebellion losses, " the particulars of which," 
it was added, " must form the subject of minute enquiry hereafter 
under legislative authority." 

The report of the Commissioners was rendered on the 18th of 
April, 1846, while Parliament was in session. It set forth that the 
want of power on the part of the Commission to proceed to a strict 
and regular investigation had compelled them to trust to the allega- 
tions of the claimants, and that it was from these data alone, and 
the general inferences to be drawn therefrom, that they had been 
able to form even an approximate estimate of the sums requisite to 
cover the amount of damages sustained. A schedule was appended 
to the report, exhibiting a list of 2,176 persons, claiming sums 
amounting to 241,965; but an opinion was expressed that 100,000 
would be sufficient to meet all meritorious claims. Sums amount- 
ing in the aggregate to 25,503 were actually claimed by persons 
who had been condemned by court-martial as having been concerned 
in the insurrection. 

Now, the only purpose which the Draper Government could hope 
to effect by proceeding any farther in the matter of rebellion losses 
was to gain French Canadian support. - It had by this time become 
doubtful whether such support was to be had by that Government 
at any price. The temporising policy was therefore persisted in. 
An Act was passed providing for the payment of the balance due on 
certain Lower Canadian rebellion claims which had been investigated 
and recognised before the Union, but the whole amount involved 
was only 9,986, and the main question was left untouched. As the 
French Canadians yielded no support to the Government they were 
not in a position to bring any pressure to bear, and nothing more 
was done in the way of compensating rebellion losses in the lower 

146 The Last Forty Tears. 

section of the Province until the period at which the narrative has 
arrived the session of 1849. 

The circumstances had of course undergone a great change. A 
Reform Government, in which French Canadian influence was very 
strong, had succeeded to power. French Canadians felt that they 
had been deprived of their rightful share in the administration of 
affairs ever since the Union, and now that their time had arrived 
they did not scruple to push their influence to its utmost length. 
A clamour had arisen from one end of Lower Canada to the other 
on the subject of compensation for rebellion losses in that section of 
the Province, and legislation could no longer be postponed. The 
Ministry, strong as they were, could not have resisted the pressure 
brought to bear upon them, even had they been so disposed. Had 
they displayed any hesitation at dealing with the subject, Mr. 
Papineau would have availed himself of such an opportunity to 
raise a tumult about their ears. Such a tumult would have been 
fatal to their influence. But they neither displayed nor felt any 
such hesitation. It was not only their interest but their bounden 
duty to redeem the virtual pledge which had been given by the 
Tory Government to the people of Lower Canada. It was incum- 
bent upon them to take up the work " left half done by their 
predecessors." * Early in the session Mr. Lafontaine introduced 
into the Assembly a series of resolutions on the subject, which, 
with some slight amendments, were speedily passed. A Bill founded 
on these resolutions was next introduced. It was intituled "An 
Act to provide for the Indemnification of parties in Lower Canada 
whose property was destroyed during the Rebellion in the years 
1837 and 1838." The preamble set forth that "in order to 
redeem the pledge given to the sufferers of such losses, . . it is 
necessary and just that the particulars of such losses, not yet paid 
and satisfied, should form the subject of more minute enquiry under 

Walrond, p. 73. 

Rebellion Losses. 147 

legislative authority, and that the same, so far only as they may 
have arisen from the total or partial, unjust, unnecessary or wanton 
destruction of dwellings, buildings, property and effects, . . should 
be paid and satisfied." It was provided that none of the persons 
who had been convicted of treason during the rebellion, or who, 
having been committed to custody, had submitted to Her Majesty's 
will, and been transported to Bermuda, should be entitled to any 
indemnity. Provision was made for the appointment of five Com- 
missioners for carrying out the Act, and a sum of 100,000 was 
appropriated for payment of claims. Such was the bombshell which 
Mr. Lafontaine cast upon the floor of the Assembly. 

The outcry from the Opposition was immediate and furious. 
They contended that in all previous legislation on the subject the 
indemnity had been restricted to " loyal inhabitants," whereas in the 
Bill now before the House there was nothing to prevent any rebel 
from claiming and receiving compensation for his losses, unless he 
had actually been convicted or banished to Bermuda. It was 
notorious that not a tithe of those who had been actively engaged 
in the insurrection had been arrested. What was to prevent any or 
all of those persons from putting in their claims, and being recom- 
pensed for their own treason ? A " rebel Government," it was said, 
had succeeded to power, to the displacement of loyal subjects. 
What more natural, it was asked, than that such a Government 
should put a premium upon treason by seeking to reward rebels ? 
Argument of . this sort told upon the country at large. The excite- 
ment was by no means confined to members of Parliament, nor to 
the city of Montreal, though, owing to the latter being the seat of 
Government, the outcry was louder there than elsewhere. The rage 
of the Opposition grew from day to day, and by the time the 
measure came up for a second reading it had become absolutely 

Nor was their hot anger greatly to be wondered at. More than 

148 The Last Forty Years. 

thirty-two years have passed since that disturbed period, and surely 
it is possible at this distance of time to look at the matter dispassion- 
ately from both sides. It must at once be conceded that the Rebel- 
lion Losses Bill of 1849 was a wise and statesmanlike measure : a 
measure calculated to dissolve long-standing prejudices, and to 
heal old wounds which had not yet closed. There had been 
much wanton and cruel destruction of property during the rebel- 
lion. After the lapse of so many years it was not always easy 
to decide whether the person aggrieved had been an actual rebel 
or not. Moreover, a full amnesty had just been granted, and it 
would have been most injudicious to partially nullify that act 
of clemency by discriminating between claimants, unless where the 
latter had been regularly convicted by due course of law. To have 
done so would have been to open the way to many evil consequences, 
of which perjury and detraction would have been among the greatest. 
It would have been wiser to leave the question altogether untouched 
than to have prohibited all but approved loyal subjects from partici- 
pating in the compensation. All this seems perfectly clear at the 
present day. But it was hardly to be expected that the Tory loyalists 
would view the question in that light in 1 849. They had been trained 
to regard the dignity and power of the Crown as of more importance 
than the liberty of the subject. They admitted no justification for 
the risings of 1837-'38. According to their creed, a man who rebelled 
against the authority of the Sovereign, no matter under what pro- 
vocation, was a dangerous criminal whose death or banishment was 
imperatively required in the public interest. A rebel was only a 
degree worse than a blasphemer or an infidel. Their own loyalty 
had been fully attested, and they conceived that it had been very 
inadequately recompensed. Scarcely had the Union been consum- 
mated ere " rebels " had been admitted to power, and had become the 
trusty counsellors of royalty's representative in Canada. After the 
lapse of a few brief years a still higher premium had been placed 

Rebellion Losses. 149 

upon rebellion by the advent to power of a Government in which 
the " rebel " element was paramount. A rumour had soon afterwards 
got abroad that the " rebel Ministry " would introduce a measure to 
recompense the Lower Canadian rebels for the losses sustained by 
them in consequence of their own rebellion.* The rumour now 
received verification under their own eyes. Under such circum- 
stances, was it reasonable to expect that they would either sanction 
the proposed measure or quietly submit to its imposition ? No fair- 
minded man will hesitate to answer this question in the negative, 
and had they restricted their opposition to constitutional means no 
permanent stigma would have rested upon them. Unfortunately for 
their fame, they resorted to methods for which no defence can be 
offend; while they at the same time brought such obloquy upon 
their party as a whole that it soon ceased to have a coherent 
existence. The events of April, 1849, sounded the death-knell of 
Canadian high Toryism. 

The debates on the subject were the most exciting in our Parlia- 
mentary annals. There was hardly a member of the Assembly but 
took part in them. It soon became evident that there was at any rate 
no intention on the part of the advocates of the Bill to exclude rebels 
from compensation. Some of the speakers, including several members 
of the Government, went so far as to defend the payment of rebels 
on the ground that it was inexpedient to enquire who were, or who 
were not, rebels. The Hon. Malcolm Cameron, Assistant Commis- 
sioner of Public Works, expressed a hope that there would be no 
Star Chamber scrutiny as to whether a man was loyal or not 
" The question," pursued the honourable gentleman, " is not whether 

Had the Draper Government proceeded with their measure while they were in power 
they would doubtless have experienced precisely the same difficultiu as beset the Lafon- 
taine-Baldwin Government in 1849. If they had discriminated between loyal subjects and 
unconvicted rebels the measure would have been a dead letter in Lower Canada, and the 
French Canadians would have been furious. If they had not so discriminated their Upper 
Canadian supporters would have opposed them, just as they opposed the Bill in 1849, and 
for the same reason. 

150 Tlie Last Forty Tears. 

a man is loyal, but whether property has wantonly been destroyed. 
The people of Upper Canada are satisfied to pay." Mr. Hincks, 
Inspector-General, spoke to the same effect.* Mr. Baldwin, Attor- 
ney-General West, remarked that after an Act of Amnesty it would 
be disrespectful to Her Majesty, and an outrage on the man seeking 
compensation, to enquire what part he took at the time of the 
troubles. Mr. Merritt, President of the Council, said : " A general 
amnesty has been proclaimed, and can we draw an odious and 
invidious distinction at this late day, to create dissatisfaction ? We 
trust all are now good and loyal subjects. It is our duty to keep 
them so, and not disturb the harmony which prevails. From 
the results of my own experience, I feel it would be very difficult 
to draw delicate distinctions between those called loyal and dis- 
loyal." Mr. Drummond, Solicitor-General East, declared that it 
was not the business of the House to say who were guilty of high 
treason, for the Amnesty Act had done away with all that. In 
technical language, the persons pardoned were in the same position 
as before. There is no need to multiply illustrations. It soon 
came to be generally understood that in the consideration of claims, 
no distinction would be drawn between those of rebels and those of 
loyal subjects, unless there had been actual conviction or banish- 
ment to Bermuda. 

The Opposition put forth all their strength. Mr. Sherwood, Sir 
Allan MacNab, Colonel Prince who, as might have been expected, 

* Mr. 1 1 hicks spoke with still less ambiguity in a circular issued by him while the 
debates were in progress, and subsequently published as an extra to the Montreal Pilot ; 
as witness the following extracts: "It may happen that parties were engaged in the 
rebellion who were never convicted of high treason, and who therefore would not be 
excluded under the Act, I believe the amount of such claims would be very small in pro- 
portion to the whole amount ; and it would be very injudicious indeed were the Legisla- 
ture, for the sake of excluding them, to sanction a false principle, and to allow any set of 
Commissioners to decide arbitrarily that men were rebels who had never been convicted 
of high treason. . . It is not proposed to pay a shilling to any individual who has been 
convicted of high treason ; but in dealing with the question it is impossible to determine 
who were and who were not rebels." See Montreal Pilot Extra, 2(ith February, 184'.). 

Rebellion Losses. 151 

was a veritable " Thorough " on this question Colonel Gugy, and all 
the leading members brought their utmost eloquence to bear upon the 
question, and did not scruple to give utterance to the passions which 
dominated them. Sir Allan went beyond himself in his vehemence, 
and stigmatized the entire French Canadian people as rebels and 
aliens. On the ministerial side powerful harangues were made by 
Messieurs Lafontaine, Baldwin, Hincks, Price, Boulton and others. 
But the speech par excellence was made by Mr. Blake, Solicitor- 
General West. How far such an address was wise or prudent 
under the circumstances may perhaps be open to question. It 
intensified the fury of the Opposition, and there can be no doubt 
that it made for the speaker bitter and life-long enemies. But 
it is probably not going too far to say that no speech ever delivered 
in a Canadian Parliament produced a more intense impression 
upon the hearers. In that tumultuous effort the pent-up wrath 
and indignation of fifteen years found vent. The state of the 
Province at and immediately before the time of the rebellion, 
and the manifold mischiefs wrought by Sir Francis Head, were 
graphically reviewed. The baneful effects of the domination of the 
Family Compact were depicted in lurid colours, and the system 
pursued by the oligarchy was denounced in such language as only 
a man of strong feelings can command. Lord Durham was defended 
against certain expressions of Sir Allan MacNab ; and some of the 
acts and utterances of the gentleman last-named were ridiculed in 
such a fashion that the House was several times convulsed with 
laughter at the gallant knight's expense. As the telling periods 
rolled on, the Assembly became spell-bound, and all felt that they 
were listening to a speech destined to live in our Provincial history. 
Sir Allan, as mentioned above, had stigmatized the French Cana- 
dians as rebels. Mr. Blake now undertook to show that there is 
such a thing as rebellion against the constitution, as well as rebellion 
against the Crown, and that the Compact to which Sir Allan 

152 The Last Forty Tears. 

belonged had for years violated the principles of the constitution. 
" That loyalty," said the speaker, " which is ever ready to extend 
and strengthen the prerogative of the Crown by stinting and limit- 
ing the liberties of the people, is not loyalty, but slavery. It cannot 
result in strengthening the connection of this country with Eng- 
land, but must tend to weaken the allegiance of the people of this 
Province by depriving them of their rights as British subjects. . . 
I am not come here to learn lessons of loyalty from honourable 
gentlemen opposite. Loyalty to my Queen is the strongest and 
dearest feeling of my heart, and I trust my arm shall never be 
wanting when its aid may be required. . . But I confess I have 
no sympathy with the would-be loyalty of honourable gentlemen 
opposite, which, while it at all times affects peculiar zeal for the 
prerogative of the Crown, is ever ready to sacrifice the liberty of 
the subject. That is not British loyalty ; it is the spurious loyalty 
which at all periods of the world's history has lashed humanity into 
rebellion. . . The expression ' rebel ' has been applied by the 
gallant knight opposite to some gentlemen on this side of the House, 
but I tell gentlemen on the other side that their public conduct has 
proved that they are the rebels to their constitution and country." 
By this time the Opposition were worked up to an explosive point. 
Sir Allan, his countenance ablaze, sprang to his feet and burst out 
with : " If the honourable member means to apply the word ' rebel ' 
to me, I must tell him that he asserts what is false." * He then, 
through the Speaker, called upon Mr. Blake to retract, which that 
gentleman peremptorily refused to do. Then ensued a scene of wild 
confusion. Some occupants of the galleries had been so wrought 
upon by the speech that they could not restrain themselves, and 
proceeded to discuss the question on their own account. Several 
breaches of the peace occurred almost simultaneously, and a cry 

* The various reports conflict as to the actual words made use of by Sir Allan. Theii 
purport was as stated in the text. 

Rebellion Losses. 153 

arose from the body of the House requesting the Speaker to have 
the galleries cleared. The two Solicitors-General cried out, "No, 
no, don't clear the galleries." Mr. Hincks protested against the 
House being controlled by a mob, and demanded that the Speaker 
should forthwith exercise his authority. That official accordingly 
ordered that the galleries should be cleared, which was done, the 
ladies hurriedly taking refuge in the body of the House. Several 
arrests were made ere the galleries were effectually emptied. The 
House sat with closed doors for about twenty minutes, and then 
adjourned for the day. A hostile meeting between Sir Allan and 
Mr. Blake was only prevented by the prompt interference of the 

It is unnecessary to trace the progress of the measure through 
Parliament. It passed the third reading in the Assembly on the 9th 
of March, by a majority of forty -seven to eighteen. In the Legis- 
lative Council it passed its third reading on the 15th, by a majority 
of twenty to fourteen. For some weeks before it thus received 
the sanction of both Houses, the Opposition had availed them- 
selves of the opportunity of turning the measure to party purposes, 
and Tory petitions against it had been pouring in from all parts of 
the country. Most of these were addressed, not to either House of 
Parliament, or to the Home Government, but to the Governor-Gen- 
eral. They were all conceived in the same spirit, and prayed either 
that the Bill might be reserved for Imperial sanction or that 
Parliament might be dissolved. 

The Governor's position was not an enviable one. He clearly 
understood that the object of the petitioners in addressing himself 
personally was to place him in collision with Parliament. As for 
the Bill itself, he does not seem to have had much sympathy with 
it So far as his own feelings were concerned, he regretted that 
public funds should be diverted from what he regarded as more 
useful purposes. He nevertheless fully recognised the necessity for 

154 The Last Forty Years. 

the introduction of the measure by the existing Government a 
necessity imposed upon them by their predecessors.* He carefully 
read every petition which reached his hands. Perceiving how much 
was at stake, he determined to do nothing rashly. He postponed 
his decision until he had pondered the matter in all its bearings. 
The result of his deliberations was to convince him that his course 
was clear. To dissolve Parliament would be absurd. The present 
House of Assembly was only fifteen months old. Its members had 
been elected by virtue of a writ issued under the auspices of the party 
now in Opposition. Yet the measure petitioned against had been 
passed by the Assembly by a majority of more than two to one. 
There was no shadow of ground for believing that a new election 
would result in a change of Ministry, or in any material change of 
public opinion. There were, moreover, serious objections to reserv- 
ing the Bill, although his Excellency well knew that he would be 
supported in so doing by public opinion in Great Britain. The 
measure relating to rebellion losses in Upper Canada had not been 
reserved, and precedent was therefore against such a course. This 
consideration alone would probably not have had much weight with 
so clear and independent a thinker as Lord Elgin, but it was a ser- 
viceable adjunct to a more weighty and manly reason. " By reserv- 
ing the Bill," wrote his Lordship, " I should only throw upon Her 
Majesty's Government, or (as it would appear to the popular eye here) 
on Her Majesty herself, a responsibility which rests, and ought, I 
think, to rest, on my own shoulders. If I pass the Bill, whatever 
mischief ensues may probably be repaired, if the worst comes to the 

* "The Tory party," wrote Lord Elgin, in the middle of March, "are doing what they 
can by menace, intimidation and appeals to passion, to drive me to a coup d'Uat. And yet 
the very measure which is at this moment the occasion of so loud an outcry is nothing 
more than a strict logical following out of their own acts. It is difficult to conceive what 
the address on the subject of rebellion losses in Lower Canada, unanimously voted by the 
House of Assembly while Lord Metcalfe was Governor and Mr. Draper minister, and the 
proceedings of the Administration upon that address, could have been meant to lead to, if 
not to such a measure as the present Government have introduced." Walrond, p. 75. 

Rebellion Losses. 155 

worst, by the sacrifice of me." * Imperial interests, moreover, were 
not concerned, and there was no justification for reserving the Bill. 
To do so would be to emulate Sir Charles Metcalfe's example, and 
to trample upon the principles of Responsible Government. An 
analysis of the votes put the constitutional aspect of the question in 
a very clear light. The number of Upper Canadian members who 
voted on the third reading was thirty-one, of whom seventeen voted 
for, and fourteen against it In Lower Canada the French Cana- 
dians, of course, were all in favour of the Bill. In addition to the 
French Canadian members from that Province there were ten of 
British origin, and of these six voted for, and four against it. This 
was a sort of logic against which it was vain to argue, and Lord 
Elgin, after long and careful consideration, determined to assent to 
the Bill. 

Walrond, l>. T& 


"The Paris mobs, in the midst of revolution and anarchy, respected public buildings, 
the libraries, and works of art ; and it remained for the Vandalism of Montreal rioters to 
inflict a public injury on themselves, of a character adopted by the Saracens and Huns, 
and other barbarians of the middle ages, to punish their enemies." MAcMfLLKN's Hittory 
of Canada, p. 609. 

PON the opening of the Assembly at three o'clock in the 
afternoon of Wednesday, the 25th of April, the amended 
Customs Bill came up for its third reading. By this 
Bill various important amendments to the tariff were 
introduced, and it was very desirable that it should be 
passed without delay. Navigation had opened earlier 
than usual, and some of the early spring vessels had already entered 
the St. Lawrence. If they were permitted to enter the port of 
Quebec before the new Act became law, their cargoes would only be 
liable to the duties imposed under the old tariff; and this would be 
an injustice to the owners of cargoes arriving subsequently, when the 
new Act should have come into operation. The Inspector-General, 
Mr. Hincks, pressed these matters upon the attention of the Assembly, 
adding that if the measure were at once passed by the two Houses 
his Excellency would come down and assent to it in the course of 
the afternoon. The Bill was accordingly read a third time and 
passed without opposition, whereupon it was sent up to the Legisla- 
tive Council. That body at once suspended the rules, and hurried the 
Bill through its various stages. The Governor's assent was now all 
that was necessary to give effect to it. The Upper House adjourned 

The Bursting of the Storm. 157 

" during pleasure," and awaited the arrival of his Excellency, who a 
few minutes later entered the Council Chamber attended by his staff. 
The members of the Assembly were summoned, and immediately 
upon their arrival the Governor gave his assent, not only to the 
Customs Act, but to forty-one others, including that relating to the 
rebellion losses. A rumour had got abroad to the effect that the 
Governor's assent would be given to the last-named measure in the 
course of the day, and the galleries were packed by persons bitterly 
opposed to the ministerial policy. 

No sooner had the obnoxious Bill received the royal assent than 
a tumult arose in the galleries in consequence of the sudden rising 
and departure of a number of well-dressed and apparently respect- 
able persons, who made a good deal of unnecessary noise by shouting 
and stamping on the stairs. Little attention was paid to this exhibi- 
tion of ill-temper, and his Excellency, having completed the business 
in hand, left the Chamber, and proceeded to his carriage. No sooner 
had he emerged from the front entrance to the building than he 
encountered a storm of hisses, groans, and offensive epithets. A 
crowd of persons had collected, conspicuous among whom were 
those who had just vacated the galleries of the Council Chamber. 
A few cheers were raised by friendly voices in the crowd, but 
there was a large preponderance of hostile demonstrations. The 
Governor's situation was not an enviable one, but he retained an 
outward appearance of equanimity, and moved on, distributing bows 
and smiles in response to the few amicable salutations which greeted 
his ears. A few moments more, and he had reached his carriage in 
safety. Then hostilities began to assume a more active and offensive 
form. The groans became deeper and more ominous; the hisses 
louder and more prolonged. As the vehicle rolled away it was pelted 
with addled eggs and other offensive missiles which had evidently 
been brought for the purpose. It was soon beyond range, and its 
occupants were found to have sustained no bodily injury, though his 

158 The Last Forty Years. 

Excellency keenly felt the gross insults to which he and his staff had 
been subjected. He repaired at once to Monklands. 

Meanwhile the Assembly continued in session, though the city 
had begun to exhibit symptoms of excitement in various quarters. 
A printed notice calling a meeting in the Champ de Mars for eight 
o'clock in the evening was circulated, and at the hour appointed a 
large crowd assembled at that place. Lights were displayed, and 
several persons of good social standing proceeded to deliver inflam- 
matory speeches. The mob were just in the humour for any act of 
desperation, and the speakers who thus goaded them on incurred a 
very serious moral responsibility. As the mass of humanity surged 
to and fro, ever and anon a cry was heard: "To the Parliament 
House ! To Monklands ! Down with Lord Elgin ! " The crisis 
arrived when one of the orators of the evening concluded his 
remarks by au injunction to the mob to " Give three cheers for the 
Queen, and then go and take a walk ! " The request did not need 
repetition. A loud shout was raised : " To the House of Assembly ! " 
and the crowd hurried off in that direction. On the way they passed 
the office of the Pilot, which was the ministerial organ in Montreal. 
Voices were heard enjoining the crowd to fire the building, but 
instantly afterwards other voices called out, " No, no ; the buildings 
on each side belong to Tories ! " The latter cry doubtless saved the 
Pilot office from being burned to the ground there and then. 
Having wreaked their vengeance by smashing every pane of glass 
in the front windows, the crowd swept on, and soon reached their 
destination. The Assembly were sitting in Committee discussing 
the Judicature Bill for Lower Canada, unconscious of what was in 
store for them. Their deliberations were suddenly interrupted by 
a succession of roars that seemed to split the air, accompanied by a 
shower of stones, brickbats, sticks, and other more offensive missiles. 
The destructive hail crashed through the windows on both sides, for 
the Chamber overlooked two streets. The members hastily took 

The, Bursting of the Storm. 159 

refuge in the lobbies, and behind the Speaker's chair. When the 
windows had been well riddled the mob changed the base of their 
operations, and forced their way into the building. They soon 
reached the Assembly Chamber, and proceeded to wreak their 
vengeance on the furniture. Chandeliers, globes and lamps were 
smashed to atoms. The table was overturned, and the legs were 
wrenched from their places. Benches were torn asunder and thrown 
in a heap. One ruffian seated himself in the Speaker's chair, and in 
sonorous mock-heroics, proclaimed the dissolution of Parliament. 
He was disturbed by his fellow-rioters, who tore him from his seat, 
which was then kicked over and smashed. The mace, which had 
cost three hundred pounds, was wrenched from the hands of Mr. 
Chisholm, the Serjeant-at-arms, who made a gallant but unsuccessful 
attempt to retain the insignia of authority. It was carried down to 
the street, whence, after having been freely passed from hand to 
hand among the crowd, it was conveyed to the Donegani hotel, and 
deposited in the room occupied by Sir Allan MacNab. 

While the work of destruction was thus going on, a cry of " Fire ! " 
was raised, and it was found that the balcony at the western end of the 
building was in flames. About the same time a blaze was discovered 
in the Legislative Council Chamber. There can be no doubt that 
both these fires had been deliberately kindled by the rioters, who, 
after the manner of all rioters, had become drunk with excitement, 
and possessed by a mania for destruction. The flames in the 
Council Chamber wore easily extinguished, but those in the balcony 
rapidly spread to the adjoining rooms, and swept everything before 
them. It was soon evident that the entire building was doomed. 
Then, for the first time, law-abiding citizens began to comprehend 
the gravity of the situation, and directed their attention to the 
saving of part of the valuable library of the Assembly. But it was 
too late to save anything of importance. The flames spread with 
such terrible rapidity that in a very few minutes the entire building 

ICO The Last Forty Years. 

was one burning mass. About a hundred volumes were preserved 
out of nearly twenty thousand. The smaller library of the Upper 
House was totally consumed. A magnificent full-length portrait of 
Her Majesty, for which $2,000 had been paid, was conveyed in 
safety down the stairway, but had no sooner reached the street than 
a ruffian ran a stick through the canvas. In this mutilated con- 
dition it was conveyed to the Donegani hotel.* But the most 
serious calamity arose from the destruction of all the public records 
of both Upper and Lower Canadian Parliaments, as well as of those 
of the Provincial Parliament since the Union. Such a loss as this 
was of course irreparable, and inflicted great and permanent injury 
upon the Province at large. The most valuable materials for our 
history were forever destroyed. The pecuniary loss was at least as 
great as the amount which had been appropriated for the payment 
of rebellion losses. Among the few important documents preserved 
were the Bills which had been sanctioned by the Governor a few 
hours before, including the measure which had been made the pre- 
text for the riot.-f- 

The troops had been summoned as soon as the mob had started 
from the Champ de Mars, but for some unexplained reason they did 
not arrive on the spot until it was too late for their presence to be of 
any great service. Several fire engines had reached the ground some 

* This unfortunate portrait was destined to encounter further vicissitudes. It remained 
at the Donegani hotel for several months, when the building was burned down. The 
framework being heavy and cumbrous, and the progress of the fire being very rapid, the 
canvas was hurriedly cut from the frame, and the painting once more saved from destruc- 
tion. It was subsequently repaired, and accompanied the seat of Government in its 
perambulations until the latter found a final resting-place at Ottawa. It now hangs in 
the Senate Chamber, facing the Throne. 

+ " The buildings destroyed were originally designed for a market-house, but were leased 
to the Government for 2,500 per annum when the seat of Government was changed from 
Kingston. The original cost was 30,000. The fittings and the furniture belonged to the 
Province, and were very valuable. The library was insured for 12,000 by the Govern- 
ment, and the buildings by the Corporation for 18,000 ; but neither of these amounts will 
be paid, the fire having been intentional." See Toronto Globe correspondence, written by 
Mr. J. Gordon Brown. 


(From an original drawing by H. R. B. Ou Princcu m Louut.) 

Tlie Bursting of the Stvrm. 101 

time before, but they had been taken possession of by the mob, until 
the fire had made too much headway to be got under. The building 
was a total ruin, and several other structures in the neighbourhood 
barely escaped a similar fate. The conflagration lighted up the 
entire city, and there was little sleep for the inhabitants of Montreal 
on that wild night. A Cabinet Council was held while the glare of 
the flames yet illumined the sky, and arrangements were made for 
the meeting of the Assembly on the following morning in the 
Bonsecours market. Prompt measures were taken for the punish- 
ment of the ringleaders, several of whom were forthwith arrested 
and lodged in gaol. 

The Assembly met, as agreed upon, at ten o'clock in the morning 
of the 26th, in the hall of the Bonsecours market, an immense room 
with bare walls. A few benches were obtained for the members, and 
the spectators stood around to listen to the proceedings. The Speaker 
having taken the chair, Mr. Baldwin moved the appointment of a 
special committee to replace current Bills and such other papers 
as might be necessary to enable the House to proceed with the 
legislation of the session. Sir Allan MacNab and other ultra 
Tories, referring to the riots, blamed the Government rather 
than the populace, and one of them even went so far as to declare 
that the Rebellion Losses Bill was a sufficient justification, even for 
the destruction of the Parliament House. Persons of more mode- 
rate opinions, however, united in speaking of the disasters of the 
preceding night in fitting terms. Mr. John Wilson, member for 
London, a Conservative, expressed great disgust at the language of 
members who could attempt to palliate such acts as had occurred. 
Mr. Badgley spoke to the same purport, and declared his determina- 
tion to stand by the Government in such an emergency. Mr. Blake 
availed himself of the opportunity to comment once more upon the 
quality of that " loyalty " of which the House had heard so much 
that loyalty which one day incited a mob to pelt the Governor- 

162 The Last Forty Tears. 

General and to destroy the Halls of Parliament and the public 
records, and on the next day sought to find excuses for anarchy, 
and to throw further difficulties in the way of the authorities. 
Mr. Baldwin's motion was carried, and the committee at once pro- 
ceeded with the work assigned to them. 

The city continued in a disturbed state throughout the day. A 
crowd collected about the market where the Assembly was sitting, 
and ever and anon gave utterance to hoots and howls. Supporters 
of the Government were grossly insulted in the streets, and in some 
instances subjected to bodily maltreatment. Mr. Holmes, one of the 
members for Montreal, upon emerging from the Assembly-room for 
a breath of fresh air, was knocked down and hustled back into the 
building. Mr. Lafontaine himself was furiously attacked, and had 
to be guarded to a cab by the military. After nightfall the evil 
passions of the mob burst forth with redoubled fury. Assaults were 
first made on the private residences of Mr. Hincks and Mr. Holmes. 
The windows were battered in, and the feasibility of setting the 
buildings on fire was discussed. The close proximity of houses 
belonging to Tories was again urged as a reason for abstaining 
from incendiarism, and again the plea was successful. Then the 
mob betook themselves to a house on St. Antoine Street, where Mr. 
Baldwin and Mr. Price lodged. Having smashed the windows, and 
shrieked out all sorts of obscene and offensive epithets against the 
occupants, they next proceeded to a fine new house which had just 
been purchased by Mr. Lafontaine in the same street. The family 
were not then in residence, and were thus spared the pain of wit- 
nessing the destruction that ensued. The fruit trees were cut 
down ; the stables were set on fire ; and as soon as the blaze had 
got well under way the mob burst into the house, where they 
wreaked their vengeance upon the fine and costly furniture. 
Everything destructible was smashed to fragments. Mr. Lafon- 
taine had a fine library of several thousand volumes which he 

The Bursting of the Storm. 163 

had spent years in collecting. Many volumes were bibliographical 
rarities which could not be replaced. The collection was com- 
pletely wrecked by the Vandals. Having dismantled the estab- 
lishment, they were just proceeding to fire the building when the 
military arrived and drove them off. The base of operations was 
then changed to Dr. Nelson's house, where the same r6le would 
doubtless have been repeated, but the military were by this time 
on the alert, and dispersed the incendiaries before they had time 
to do more than riddle the windows with stones. This closed 
the chapter of calamities for the night, so far as the main body of 
rioters was concerned, though smaller bodies had meanwhile been 
occupying themselves in smashing the windows of various other 
prominent supporters of the Government. 

On the morning of the following day, which was Friday, the 
27th, a handbill was posted about the city calling a meeting of " the 
friends of peace " on the Champ de Mars, for two o'clock in the 
afternoon. At that time a great crowd assembled, but, as might 
have been anticipated, "the friends of peace" formed a very small pro- 
portion of the assemblage. The Hon. George Moffatt, Colonel Gugy, 
and other Tories delivered speeches in which the people were called 
upon to preserve order ; but an address to Her Majesty praying for 
the recall of Lord Elgin and the disallowance of the obnoxious Bill 
was passed. At the close of the proceedings the crowd dispersed 
without resorting to any further excesses. Objections having been 
made to the further discharge of police duties by the military, 
about a thousand French and Irish constables were sworn in to 
preserve order. They were armed with pistols and cutlasses, and 
stationed in front of the temporary House of Assembly, where 
they were drilled by Colonel Tactic*. By way of furthur pre- 
caution, more troops were summoned from the nearest military 
stations. In the course of the evening the mob again collected in 
great numbers in the Champ de Mars, but they were overawed by 

1G4 The Last Forty Tears. 

the proximity of the troops and special constables, and did not 
venture upon any further excesses. 

But the reign of King Mob was not yet over. Next day, the 
28th, an address to the Governor was moved in the Assembly, 
in which the justice and impartiality which had characterized his 
Excellency's Government, under the late Administration as well as 
under the existing one, were fully recognized. Deep sorrow and 
indignation were expressed at the recent disgraceful proceedings, 
and assurances were conveyed of cordial support for any measure 
which his Excellency might deem necessary for the preservation of 
peace. Several amendments were moved by the Opposition, and 
there was a strong endeavour on their part to modify the terms of 
the motion. The address finally passed by a majority of thirty-six 
to sixteen, and arrangements were made for his Excellency to receive 
it on Monday, the 30th, at "Government House," a building on 
Notre Dame Street, where the Government offices were kept. In 
compliance with these arrangements, Lord Elgin, who had not left 
Monklands since his return thither from Montreal on the 25th, 
drove into the city on the 30th. He was accompanied by several 
members of his suite, and escorted by a troop of volunteer dragoons. 
He had no sooner entered the city than he saw reason to apprehend 
further disturbances. Insults fell upon his ears, and several harm- 
less but offensive missiles were hurled at the escort. As he 
approached the chief commercial thoroughfares the clamour in- 
creased, and for some minutes before reaching Government House 
he found himself surrounded by a hostile and violent mob. He 
was at first assailed by oaths and execrations, and soon after by 
stones and rotten eggs. A stone of two pounds weight descended 
upon the carriage, and was preserved by the Governor as a memento 
of the occasion. The members of the Assembly who repaired to 
the place appointed to present the address were assailed in like 
manner, stones being thrown at them over the heads of the troops 


The Bursting of the Storm. 165 

who accompanied them for their protection. A magistrate proceeded 
to read the Riot Act, but had scarcely begun ere the order was 
given to the troops to charge. The order was promptly obeyed, but 
the crowd fell back as promptly, and no damage was done. The 
rioters cheered the soldiers heartily, as though to prove that their 
hostility was directed against Lord Elgin and the Government, and 
not against the troops, who were only obeying orders. Lord Elgin 
meanwhile remained perfectly calm and collected, and gave no sign 
of his consciousness of the riot beyond putting up his hands to pro- 
tect his face from being battered by the missiles which flew around 
him. Having reached his destination he got down from his carriage 
and entered the building, where he received and replied to the 
address. Shouts continued to make themselves heard, and the 
crowd again closed in near the troops. It was deemed advisable 
that his Excellency should leave the city by a different route. 
Accordingly, instead of passing along Notre Dame Street, he 
directed his course towards Sherbrooke Street, and thus doubled 
upon the mob. The latter soon discovered the ruse, and set off 
after the Vice-regal carriage in hot haste. Shouts of " Down with 
the Governor-General ! " rent the air, and law and order once 
more seemed to be at an end. The Governor's carriage was driven 
along with great rapidity, but the mob pressed "cabs, caleches, 
and everything that would run"* into their service, and overtook 
his Lordship at Molson's corner. A furious attack with stones 
was made on the flying vehicle, the back of which was driven in. 
Erelong the Vice-regal party were clear of the mob, and were 
able to estimate damages. The Governor himself had escaped 
unhurt, but his brother, Colonel Bruce, had received a wound on 
tho back of his head from a stone thrown at the carriage. Colonel 
Ermatinger, Chief of Police, and Captain Jones, who had charge of 
the escort, had also received slight bodily injuries. " In this sad 

See Montreal HeraU extra, Monday, April 30th, 1849. 

166 The Last Forty Years. 

manner," says a contemporary account, " did his Lordship depart 
from the capital of Her British Majesty's possessions in North 
America."* He repaired to Monklands, and did not again enter 
the city for many months. 

Next morning active preparations were made for further tumult. 
Information had reached the city that a deputation consisting of 
eight gentlemen had embarked on the steamer at Quebec for Mont- 
real on the previous night, with the intention of waiting on Lord 
Elgin with an address of condolence. This was regarded by the 
Montreal mob as a step on the part of Quebec to induce the 
removal of the seat of Government to that place. An immense 
crowd congregated at the wharf to await the steamer's arrival. 
The authorities also made preparations. The troops were called out 
and paraded near the wharf to preserve order. The fury of the mob 
was roused, and there would doubtless have been warm work if the 
deputation had been on board ; but upon the arrival of the steamer 
it became known that the eight Quebec gentlemen had taken the 
precaution to disembark at St. Mary's Current, two miles below. 
The crowd accordingly gave three cheers for the troops, and then 
quietly dispersed. 

The Government did not escape censure, even from their own 
supporters, for not having made preparation for this miniature 
rebellion; and still greater fault was found with them for not 
having promptly and effectually suppressed it with the strong hand. 
The Ministry, however, were taken completely by surprise, and the 
best defence that can be made for them is that the outbreak was not 
one that could have been foreseen. True, the feeling evoked by the 
discussion on the subject of rebellion losses was very warm, and 
while the measure was under consideration in the Assembly the 
Opposition press indulged in much violent and menacing language ; 
language which, read in the light of subsequent events, would seem 

* See Montreal Herald extra, Monday, April 30th, 1849. 

The Bursting of the Storm, 167 

to have been of a kind to put the Government on their guard. But 
violent and menacing language had long been characteristic cf the 
party press of Canada. It was not confined to the press of any 
party, or of any particular locality. Its most rabid utterances, 
however, were, for the most part, " full of sound and fury, signifying 
nothing," and were generally taken for what they were worth. 
Moreover, according to the best opinion that can now be formed, the 
riots were wholly fortuitous the mere outgrowth of the disturbed 
state of public feeling in Montreal at the moment, acted upon and 
intensified by the harangues and example of unwise or unscrupulous 
partisans. Had the mob not been encouraged and directed in their 
ruffianism by persons who ought to have known better, there is good 
reason for believing that there would have been no incendiarism, 
and no serious rioting. A heavy responsibility rests on those who 
recklessly wrought upon the evil passions of an excited and ignorant 
mob. Their conduct was all the more reprehensible inasmuch as they 
belonged to a class which never wearied of proclaiming their loyalty 
and devotion to the Crown. The most stinging sentences of Mr. 
Blake's speech about " spurious Canadian loyalty " received sudden 
and unexpected confirmation. Loyalty seemed much less alluring 
in the eyes of these ultra-loyalists when it implied the exclusion 
from office of their party, and the political ascendency of their 

The other ground upon which the Ministry were taken to task 
that they had not checked the riot at its outset by putting down 
the mob with the strong hand is one easily dealt with. It is 
certain that the riot might have been checked with very little 
delay if the Government had been disposed to exercise their 
full authority, without regard to consequences. At their bidding 
the French Canadian populace would have arisen as one man, and 
would speedily have given such an account of the rioters as would 
have effectually prevented any further clamour. Then, to say 

168 The Last Forty Years. 

nothing of the ministerial supporters among the British population, 
the troops were at the command of the Ministry, and by shooting 
down a score or two of the populace the streets might soon have 
been cleared. The Government might have done this. Such a 
course was urged upon them by many persons whose opinions might 
have been supposed to have weight with them.* But wiser counsels 
prevailed. It is excellent to have a giant's strength, says the virtuous 
Isabella, but it is tyrannous to use it like a giant. To have fired upon 
the mob would have been to intensify the war of races which had 
already done so much to retard the progress and prosperity of the 
country. All the benefit in the way of amalgamation which a 
united Parliament had been able to effect in eight years would have 
been invalidated. The Governor- General and his Ministers were 
agreed as to the proper course to be pursued. Unless as a last and 
inevitable resort, there should be no shedding of blood by authority. 
" I am prepared to bear any amount of obloquy that may be cast 
upon me," said the Governor to his secretary, Major Campbell, "but, 
if I can possibly prevent it, no stain of blood shall rest upon my 
name."-|- By some whose souls were too small to enable them to 
properly appraise such a line of action, the Governor's policy was 
attributed to pusillanimity and cowardice. The American papers 
expressed astonishment at his Excellency's forbearance. But the 
exercise of forbearance was the truest evidence of sagacity, and 
time has long since done justice to the man who dared to face 
obloquy and misrepresentation rather than violate his sense of what 

The feeling of many prominent ministerialists is fairly depicted in the following 
extract from an unpublished letter written by the Hon. John Ross to a friend in Toronto, 
xinder date of 9th May, 1849 : " I cannot help thinking, with you, that the Government 
have shown too much forbearance towards the ruffianly disturbers of the peace in Mont- 
real, and this opinion they have received from me more than once. . . . The daily 
round of insolence and triumph stamped on the countenances of the rascals here Rails me 
to the quick. If the Ministry would but force on an issue, and shoot down 50 or 60 of 
them, we should not be as we are. " 

t Walrond, p. 85. 

The Bursting of tfie Storm. 109 

was right " Yes, I see it all now," said a gentleman to him many 
months afterward; "you were right a thousand times right 
though I thought otherwise then. I own that I would have reduced 
Montreal to ashes before I would have endured half what you did ; 
and I should have been justified, too." " Yes," replied Lord Elgin, 
"you would have been justified, because your course would have 
been perfectly defensible ; but it would not have been the best 
course. Mine was a better one."* Owing to the determination 
to avoid bloodshed, not a life was lost during the riots immediately 
consequent upon the Rebellion Losses Bill. Nearly four months 
later, as will be seen, a single life was sacrificed, but not at the 
instigation of the Government or any individual member of it. 
Independently of the breaking of a few windows, the only private 
property destroyed belonged to the Ministers themselves. 

The riotous proceedings in Montreal were feebly reechoed in 
several towns in Upper Canada, but with these few exceptions the 
good sense of the people prevailed, notwithstanding the rabid utter- 
ances of the most violent portion of the press. Lord Elgin was not 
long permitted to remain in doubt as to the popular estimate of his 
conduct in maintaining the principles of Responsible Government. 
Addresses from all parts of the Province poured in upon him, and 
their prevailing tone was most gratifying to his feelings. He 
however deemed it incumbent upon him to tender his resignation 
to the Colonial Secretary. This was done in the official periphrasis 
which seems to be a sine qua, non in communications between high 
dignitaries in the public service. His Excellency suggested to Lord 
Grey that if he, the Governor, should be unable to recover that 
position of " dignified neutrality between contending parties " which 
he had endeavoured to maintain, it might be a question whether it 
would not be for the interest of Her Majesty's service that he should 
be removed, to make way for some one who should have " the 

Walrond, p. 97. 


170 The Last Forty Tears. 

advantage of being personally unobnoxious to any section of Her 
Majesty's subjects within the Province." * But the Colonial Secre- 
tary's reply was very reassuring. It signified approval of Lord 
Elgin's conduct in the strongest terms, and expressed Her Majesty's 
anxious wish that he should remain at his post. Having thus 
received unmistakable evidence that his policy had commended 
itself to the Home Government, as well as to the great bulk of 
the Canadian people, his Excellency abandoned all notion of retir- 
ing, and gave his best consideration to the important questions 
which loomed before him. 

He was importuned from many quarters to remove the seat of 
Government from Montreal. The Assembly passed an Address 
praying him to call Parliament alternately at Toronto and Quebec 
every four years. He was at the same time doing his utmost to 
negotiate a reciprocity treaty with the United States. While these 
and many other subjects were engrossing his mind, the business of 
the session was quietly proceeded with. After sitting a few days in 
the hall of the Bonsecours Market, the Assembly found more suit- 
able accommodation in Dalhousie Square, in a large building which 
had been constructed for a theatre. The Legislative Council took 
up their quarters in Trinity Church for a few days, after which 
accommodation was provided for them in the same building, where 
both Chambers remained until the close of the session. 

Among the many addresses of which his Excellency was the 
recipient during this turbulent epoch was one of special note from 
the people of Toronto. It was signed by no fewer than 2,32-t male 
adults, being nearly half the male adult population of the city. 
Several gentlemen were specially sent down to Monk lands as a 
deputation to present it to the Governor. They reached their desti- 
nation on Wednesday, the 10th of May, and acquitted themselves of 
the object of their mission. The same evening, while they were 

* Walrond, p. 86. 

The Bursting of the Storm. 171 

attending a ministerial dinner party at Tetu's hotel, in Montreal, 
another lawless demonstration took place. A mob collected in the 
street in front of the hotel, and after having given vent to numer- 
ous groans and hisses, sent a volley of stones crashing through the 
windows. Shots were fired from within upon the assailants, several 
of whom were wounded. The military arrived in time to disperse 
the mob before any more serious collision could take place; but it 
was apparent that influences were at work which did not tend to 
make Montreal a desirable place of residence for the representative 
of royalty. 

Lord Elgin did not attend in person at the prorogation, which 
took place on the 30th of May. Public feeling in Montreal had 
not yet quieted down, and there was reason to apprehend further 
rioting if any excuse therefor were afforded to the mob. His 
Excellency had already been attacked and grossly insulted twice in 
his own capital. To submit to a third attack, without punishing the 
assailants, would have seemed like a degradation of his high office. 
It would also have been popularly taken as an indication of weak- 
ness; a contingency which it was manifestly desirable to avoid. 
He accordingly, by advice of his Ministers, issued a Commission to 
Major-Qeneral Rowan, Commander of the Forces, who attended at the 
Legislative Council Chamber at the date indicated, and prorogued 
Parliament in a short and conciliatory speech. Only a few days 
previously on the IGth of the month a son and heir had been 
born to the Governor, at Monklands. The little fellow, to whom 
Her Majesty became godmother, was christened Victor Alexander, 
and is the present representative of the family honours. 


" Within that land was many a malcontent." 

LARA, Canto IL 

HE rest of the year 1849 was an anxious time for the 
Governor and his Ministers. A state of more or less 
excitement continued to prevail throughout the entire 
Province, though the manifestations of it were much 
more conspicuous in Montreal than elsewhere. Some of 
the larger centres of commerce suffered from a visitation 
of Asiatic cholera, which did not tend to improve the tone of the 
public mind. After the close of the session the carrying out of the 
provisions of the Rebellion Losses Bill was proceeded with, and no 
pains were spared by the Government to effect an equitable distri- 
bution of the amount appropriated by the Legislature. The Com- 
missioners who had been deputed by the late Government to enquire 
into the claims of persons seeking compensation were now re- 
appointed ; and in order to further conciliate Tory susceptibilities, 
they were directed to construe the Act in the most restricted sense 
it could be made to bear in favour of loyalists. But in spite of all 
efforts at conciliation the Tory press kept up the agitation against 
the Government. Nor was the agitation confined to the press. A 
British American League, as it was called, was formed at Montreal, 
with branches at Toronto, Kingston, and elsewhere in Upper Canada. 
The objects of this association were various, and would seem to have 
been not always consistent with each other. Persistent opposition 

Aftermath. 173 

to the existing Government, a return to a protective policy, the 
election of members of the Legislative Council, and most import- 
ant of all a general union of the British North American Provinces, 
were among the most conspicuous planks in the platform. A con- 
vention of delegates from all parts of the Province was held at 
Kingston towards the close of July, and an attempt was made to 
weld the discordant elements of which the association was composed 
into a harmonious whole. Among the principal speakers were Ogle 
R. Gowan of Brockville, Henry Sherwood, George Duggan and 
Philip M. M. S. Vankoughnet of Toronto, George Moffatt and Hugh 
E. Montgomerie of Montreal, John A. Macdonald and John R 
Breckenridge of Kingston, Holland Macdonald of St. Catharines, 
Edward Ermatinger of St. Thomas, Edmund Murney of Belleville, 
and Daniel Gilbert Miller of Woodstock. The convention remained 
in session for some days, and discussed the political and social aspect 
of affairs from various points of view. Among other extraordinary 
matters debated was a proposal by Mr. Gowan to impeach the Gov- 
ernor-General in the House of Lords. But there was too little 
community of idea among the members to admit of their working 
ctti'ctively together, and nothing came of the movement. Some of 
the more extreme among them, as will presently be seen, allied 
themselves with other elements in the population, and proceeded to 
form a distinct association having objects which would not have 
been tolerated by the majority of the members of the League. 

The riotous proceedings in Montreal and the burning of the 
Parliament Buildings excited a good deal of feeling in the mother 
country. The Canadian Tories, with a view to influencing public 
and Parliamentary opinion there, had sent over Sir Allan MacNab 
and Mr. Cayley to represent the matter from their point of view. 
About the same time Mr. Hincks was sent over to counteract their 
influence, and to transact important business relating to the Provin- 
cial finances. The question of the Rebellion Losses Bill was taken 

174 The Last Forty Years. 

up by both Houses of Parliament. In the Commons the discussion 
was long and vehement. Among those who spoke in favour of the 
disallowance of the measure by Her Majesty was Mr. Gladstone, who, 
however, as was clearly indicated by his remarks, had studied the 
question from one side only. Lord John Russell, Sir Robert Peel, 
and other distinguished men defended both the principle of the Bill 
and the statesmanship which had originated it. The result of the 
discussion in both Houses was that Lord Elgin's course was fully 
sustained, and that the eulogies of the most eminent statesmen in 
the nation were pronounced upon it. 

Intelligence of the discussion and its result in due course reached 
Canada, and had a tranquillising effect on public opinion there. 
But Montreal was destined to be the scene of a second formidable 
riot. The conciliatory policy adopted by the Government with 
respect to the Rebellion Leases Bill was also followed with respect 
to the persons implicated in the destruction of the Parliament 
Buildings. There was no disposition to press matters to extremity, 
and proceedings were deferred until true bills should be found by a 
grand jury. Owing to the presence of cholera in Montreal, however, 
no grand jury could be got together during the August term, and the 
Court adjourned without ti-ansacting any business. It was not 
deemed advisable that the indictments should lie over for three 
months longer. The accused were accordingly arrested about the 
middle of August. Bail was forthwith given and accepted, but this 
did not satisfy the mob, and about nine o'clock on the night of 
Wednesday, the loth of the month, they proceeded to make a second 
attack upon the house of Mr. Lafontaine, who, as Prime Minister, was 
regarded by them as a legitimate object of their wrath. A rumour 
had got abroad during the day that such an attack was likely to be 
made, and a miniature garrison was organized in the house. Some 
of the assailants, having made themselves hoarse with yells and exe- 
crations, forced their way into the yard, whence they proceeded to 

Aftermath. 175 

enter the building from the rear. The occupants were not disposed 
to submit tamely to a forcible entry, and, after giving due warning, 
fired upon the assailants. Several of the latter were wounded, and 
one, a youth named William Mason, son of a livery-stable keeper, was 
shot so seriously in the thigh that it was feared he would bleed to 
death. One of the rioters called out, " The poor fellow is killed 1 " 
The mob were roused to murderous fury by this exclamation, and 
shouts arose: "The blood of a Saxon has been shed by a Frenchman! " 
For a short time it seemed not unlikely that the house would be 
destroyed, and that Mr. Lafontaine himself would be torn in pieces. 
Military assistance, however, opportunely arrived on the scene, 
and the mob retreated, carrying with them the insensible body of 
their wounded comrade. The unfortunate youth died early on the 
following morning. An inquest was subsequently held, and Mr. 
Lafontaine was by a unanimous verdict acquitted of all blame or 
responsibility. Great excitement prevailed throughout the city for 
some days. The funeral was attended by a concourse of people 
wearing red scarfs and ribbons. It was deemed advisable to 
close the shops fronting on the streets along which the procession 
passed. For several successive nights there were disturbances on 
the streets, accompanied by the extinguishing and smashing of 
lamps, and similar manifestations of disregard for law. Several 
tires occurred, and there was reason for believing they were due 
to incendiaries. The popular fury soon spent itself, and further 
catastrophes were averted, but these last riotous proceedings con- 
vinced both the Governor and his Ministers that it would be unad- 
visable to retain the seat of Government at Montreal The city 
had long since obtained an unenviable notoriety for the turbulent 
character of its mobs. Many members of Parliament, indeed, had 
declared before the prorogation that nothing would induce them 
to return thither for another session. The Assembly, as has been 
seen, had recommended that the capital should be alternately at 

176 The Last Forty Years. 

Toronto and Quebec. Lord Elgin himself, notwithstanding the 
indignities to which he had been subjected at Montreal, had for some 
months clung to the idea of retaining the seat of Government there. 
That idea he now felt bound to abandon. The subject required care- 
ful deliberation, and it was not till near the end of October that the 
Governor was able to signify to the Colonial Secretary that the 
question had been settled. The arrangement was that the remain- 
ing two sessions of the existing Parliament should be held at 
Toronto, after which there should be a transfer to Quebec and 
Toronto alternately every four years. It was hoped that this plan, 
by bringing representatives of each of the different nationalities 
into more intimate relations with the people and institutions of the 
other, would tend to remove the barriers between the two sections 
of the Province, and lead the inhabitants to look upon each other 
as members of the same community, having a common interest in 
its welfare. The scheme was carried out, and Montreal, by the 
inconsiderate folly of a few misguided persons, lost the distinction 
and pecuniary advantages inseparable from the seat of the Provincial 
Government. The decision thus arrived at was intended as a salu- 
tary lesson, not only to Montreal, but to other towns which had 
shewn a disposition to set the populace above the law. 

Nearly two months before the seat of Government question had 
been definitely settled, his Excellency thought proper to pay a visit 
to Upper Canada. He left Monklands during the first week of Sep- 
tember, and proceeded to Lachine, where he embarked on board a 
steamer for Prescott, whence he proceeded by another steamer to 
Niagara, without disembarking at any intermediate port At King- 
ston, then one of the great strongholds of Toryism, the Mayor and 
corporation boarded the steamer and presented his Excellency with 
a complimentary address, to which the recipient made a suitable 
reply, but did not go on shore. " Certain lewd fellows of the baser 
sort " had collected at the wharf, and, mingling with other citizens, 

Aftermath. 177 

indulged in hostile demonstrations against the Governor ; but they 
formed only a small proportion of the crowd, and Lord Elgin 
did not seem to be in the least moved by their display. His 
object in proceeding thus direct to the head of the lake was to 
meet General Zachary Taylor, President of the United States, who 
was then visiting Niagara, and with whom his Excellency was 
desirous of conferring with regard to the project of reciprocity 
which he had so much at heart. He was received with the 
utmost enthusiasm by the people of the Niagara District, who 
deluged him with complimentary addresses, and assured him of 
their confidence and devotion. After remaining a few days in the 
neighbourhood of the Falls he proceeded westward, and visited all 
the more important towns. During the entire tour he was attended 
only by an aide-de-camp and one servant, his object being to prove 
that he could traverse the Province in safety without any body- 
guard for his protection. The result fully justified his expectations. 
He encountered enthusiasm everywhere, and only on two or three 
occasions was there any manifestation of hostility. At Toronto a 
few missiles were hurled at him as he was driven along the streets, 
but they fell wide of their mark, and were merely the last impotent 
demonstrations of a defeated and disappointed faction.* 

* The following extracts from a hitherto unpublished letter written by the Hon. Robert 
Baldwin to an intimate friend in Toronto, under date of 8th September, 1849, throw much 
light on the aspect of the seat of Government question, which, it will be borne in mind, 
was not finally settled until some week* afterwards : 

" I wrote you a short note the day before yesterday, informing you of the departure of 
bis Excellency, and of his intention of going to the Falls at once, in order to try and 
meet General Taylor, who was expected there immediately. . I think the citizens of 
Montreal are becoming very uneasy about the seat of Government question. They hare 
reason to be, for certainly the late renewal of disturbances cannot be considered as increas- 
ing their claims to favourable consideration. They were in great hopes his Excellency 
would have come to town before he went west. His not having done so strikes them as 
perhaps an indication that he does not mean to come back to them at all. It is true they 
half flatter themselves that he is going home. Sir Allan has talked oracularly, I suppose, 
to them on the subject in liis letters, and, like all dupes, they interpret the oracle to their 
own liking. They will be miserably disappointed if that is all they have to rely upon for 

178 The Last Forty Years. 

The Governor felt much gratified at the result of his tour. " I 
do not believe," he wrote to a friend, "that the function of the 
Governor-General under constitutional government, as the modera- 
tor between parties, the representative of interests which are com- 
mon to all the inhabitants of the country, as distinct from those 
which divide them into parties, was ever so fully and so frankly 
recognized. I do not believe that I could have achieved this if 
I had had blood upon my hands." * He moreover had other, if not 
higher, grounds for self-gratulation. Every mail from England 
brought out additional evidences of official approval of his policy. 
Within a short time after completing his tour in the west he 
received an intimation that he had been raised to the peerage of 

the preservation of their metropolitan position. They have some doubts themselves, and 
are doing all they can to get the people in the west to play their game by insulting the 
Governor-General there, and are particularly anxious that he should be ill-received at 
Toronto, Kingston, and Bytown. . . I have reason to believe they are making the most 
strenuous exertions to accomplish this, appealing to their friends not to desert them, etc., 
etc. The question then is, will they succeed in getting their friends to make the attempt, 
and if they do, will the lovers of order of all parties allow it to be successful ? If they 
do, the Montrealers will have reason to chuckle over the gullibility of their western friends. 
For it is not to be denied that should the Government determine on a removal from Mon- 
treal, the regard for order and respect for the representative of the Sovereign that the 
different places in Upper Canada may shew on the occasion of his Excellency's visit will 
have a powerful effect in determining the particular place to remove to. In fact, what 
could I say if, after urging the claims of Toronto, all my previous assurances that there, at 
all events, such insults would either not be offered, or would be put down at once, were to 
be met by an appeal to recent facts contradicting them ? . . . The people of Kingston 
are more wise. I saw a letter from a gentleman there a day or two ago, in which it was 
said that, particularly since the return of their delegates from England, they are, all parties 
of them, setting to work to insure his Excellency a good reception. They say they wer.i 
misled by their Parliamentary representatives telling them that Lord Elgin had little or 
no influence in England, and that he would be sure to be recalled. I suppose they are now 
undeceived in these particulars. Be that as it may, they are at work in earnest. And 
unless Toronto is equally active and determined, farewell to her hopes. Apart from all 
other considerations, I am of course, as a Torontonian, most anxious that my native city 
should not lose the chance that has been thrown in her way of sharing, at least, in metro- 
politan honours and advantages. And I would willingly do all in my power consistently 
with my duty to the Province at large to secure her that advantage. . . . Depend 
upon it, the time is now or never." 

* Walrond, p. 96. 

Aftermath. 179 

the United Kingdom under the title of Baron Elgin of Elgin, an 
honour which he prized most highly, not merely on account of 
the dignity itself, but as a proof of the estimation in which his 
conduct was held at home. No stronger proof could have been 
given of the change which had come over the spirit of the Imperial 
Government with respect to their views on colonial relations to the 
Empire. Only five years had elapsed since Sir Charles Metcalfe 
had been raised to the peerage for pursuing a course the very 
reverse of that recently adopted by Lord Elgin. It was another 
noticeable fact that the policy of the latter's administration had 
commended itself to the judgment of leading British statesmen of 
such divergent schools of politics as Lord John Russell and Sir 
Robert Peel. It was evident to the Canadian people that the Tory 
delegates had utterly failed in their mission to England, and that 
the tactics of the Canadian Opposition were discredited there. This 
knowledge, combined with the honours to Lord Elgin and the uni- 
versal condemnation of the violence of the Montreal mob, tended to 
improve the position of the Canadian Administration both in Upper 
and Lower Canada. There were many loyal Canadians who were 
unable to approve of the Rebellion Losses Bill, but an overwhelming 
majority in the Provincial Parliament had decided in favour of it, 
and the principles of Responsible Government had by this time 
attained pretty general assent; so that few were now found to 
defend the tactics of the leaders of the Opposition in appealing to 
England against a Canadian Parliamentary majority. As for (he 
Ministry and their supporters, they were not unnaturally jubilant 
at their success. They regarded the support of Lord Elgin by the 
Imperial Government as a pledge that that Government would not 
again tamper with the constitutional rights and privileges of the 
colony, or vouchsafe their countenance to any Governor who should 
attempt to do so. 

The Government policy was thus completely successful ; but, in 

180 The Last Forty Years. 

view of all the circumstances, it was not to be expected that all diffi- 
culties would cease. The commercial depression and the not very 
encouraging commercial outlook had led many dissatisfied persons to 
cast about for a remedy for the existing state of affairs. Among other 
heroic courses of treatment suggested was one involving the annexa- 
tion of Canada to the United States. For many months past there 
had been a good deal of discussion on this subject, and some of the 
leading merchants of Montreal had pronounced emphatically in its 
favour. It was noticeable that persons of the most opposite poli- 
tical views on domestic questions forgot their differences, and united 
in their advocacy of this great scheme. During the month of 
October a manifesto was published at Montreal, in which the 
wretched condition of the country was depicted in striking and 
somewhat exaggerated colours. Among the various remedies pointed 
out were the revival of protection in the markets of the United 
Kingdom ; the protection of home manufactures ; a Federal union 
of the British American Provinces ; the independence of the British 
North American colonies as a Federal republic, and reciprocal free 
trade with the United States. But the most sweeping remedy of 
all was the last one suggested, namely, a " friendly and peaceful 
separation from British connexion, and a union upon equitable terms 
with the great North American Confederacy of Sovereign States" 
in brief, annexation. There was, however, no suggestion of rebel- 
lion, or any serious thought of anything so chimerical as separa- 
tion by force. Sentiments of kindness and respect for the mother 
country were distinctly professed, and it was declared that 
separation without the consent of Great Britain was neither prac- 
ticable nor desirable. The supposed advantages of annexation were 
enlarged upon, and it was suggested that the mother country would 
offer no opposition to a step which must necessarily enure so 
greatly to the benefit of the colonies. This manifesto was signed 
by many leading citizens of Montreal, including such well-known 


Aftermath. 181 

names as those of the Torrances, the Redpatha, the Molsons, the 
Workmans and the Dorions. Luther Hamilton Holton, Benjamin 
Holmes, David Lewis Macpherson, Jacob DeWitt, Edward Goff 
Penny, D. Lorn Macdougall and John Rose were also among the 
signatories to this document, which was comprehensively addressed 
"To the People of Canada." Its publication naturally produced 
much excitement and discussion. It soon became apparent that 
the sympathizers with the project were not confined to the 325 
persons who had signed the manifesto. Among other public men 
who pronounced loudly in its favour was Sir. (L. J.) Papineau, who in 
so doing was consistent with the principles which he had professed 
ever since his return from exile ; but it was a surprise to many per- 
sons to find the moderate, even-minded Mr. Alexander T. Qalt among 
the advocates of annexation. Justices of the Peace, officers of the 
militia, Queen's Counsel, and others holding commissions at the plea- 
sure of the Crown, were among the signers of the manifesto, which 
could not therefore be treated as a mere ebullition of feeling on the 
part of the democratic portion of the community alone. Similar 
manifestoes were issued at Toronto, Quebec and elsewhere, but the 
signatories were by no means so numerous as at Montreal ; and in- 
deed the feeling in favour of the movement cannot be said to have 
obtained much foothold anywhere else.* The agitation soon col- 

* In Upper Cna<la some conspicuous Reformer! showed, for a time, a decided leaning 
in favour of the movement, and would doubtless have come prominently forward in iU 
favour had they been able to count upon support Among these was Mr. Peter Perry, of 
Whitby. There can be no doubt that the personal influence of Mr. Baldwin, who 
regarded the idea of annexation with something like abhorrence, did much to counteract 
this tendency. Mr. Baldwin has sometimes been accused of being a strong party man, 
ami such he undoubtedly was ; but he was nevertheless one to whom some things were 
Iwf.ire party. He promptly notified Mr. Perry what his own sentiments were, and 
v. 'lint he expected from his supporters. The text of his letter was published in the Globe 
of October 18th, IM'.i, as a rider to an editorial on the subject The following extract 
from a hitherto unpublished letter, written by Mr. Baldwin on the 5th of October, 1849, 
to the lute Mr. Lawrence Hey den, of Toronto, gives an excellent idea of the stand taken 
by him. It must be borne in mind that the agitation for annexation was then at iU 
height, so far as it can be said to have reached any height at all : 

182 The Last Forty Years. 

lapsed, for no considerable number of persons could be found to sanc- 
tion the project. It would be most unjust, however, to denounce as 
" rebels " and " disloyal " (as has often been done) all those who lent 
their countenance to the annexation movement of 1849. Its sup- 
porters were for the most part honourable and well-meaning men 
who despaired of the future of the Province, and were sincerely 
desirous of improving its position as well as their own. Many of 
them were merchants who had been ruined or impoverished by the 
commercial depression which prevailed. Others, while they had 
not as yet sustained any great pecuniaiy loss, looked forward with 

" I felt it right to write to Mr. Perry, expressing my decided opinions in respect of the 
annexation question, and that I could look upon those only who are in favour of the con- 
tinuance of the connection with the mother country as political friends ; those who are 
against it as political opponents. I felt this to be the more necessary because I had heard 
within a few days that one of our Parliamentary friends here was said to have given in, 
or to be about giving in, his adhesion to the annexation movement. The tactics of our 
opponents are transparent. They want to get some of our supporters of standing to com- 
mit themselves, and then turn round on them and the whole party, and impute the call 
for annexation to the Liberal party generally. I believe that our party are hostile to 
Annexation. I am at all events hostile to it myself, and if I and my party differ upon it, 
it is necessary we should part company. It is not a question upon which a compro- 
mise is possible." 

A short time before, the Hon. John Ross had written to the same correspondent as 
follows : 

" My own firm belief is that there is an organization among the Orangemen from one 
end of Canada to the other, with the intention and object of seizing upon the Government 
by force, and going for annexation. After overturning the Government they will sell out 
to the Yankees for a consideration. MacNab, Cayley and Boulton will get the lion's 
hare of the spoils, and all will go on beautifully. They are so confoundedly reckless and 
unprincipled that they are prepared for anything. They have everything to gain and 
nothing to lose in the scramble, as Watts told them the ether day in the House. My 
advice to all our friends is. Prepare! Organize! Arm! and put them down effectually 
when the struggle comes. If we are caught napping we shall repent it bitterly when too 
late. Besides, when they know that we are prepared, they will be the more likely to 
abstain from violence." 

The two letters are eminently characteristic of the writers. In the first we see the 
calm, quiet firmness of high and inflexible principle. In the second we see the man of 
extreme views and narrow intelligence, hasty in judgment, rash in expression, and impru- 
dent in counsel. The gentleman referred to as " Boulton " in the above extract was Mr. 
William H. Boulton, a strong Conservative, who reprente<i Toronto in the Assembly. 
WatU" 'a Mr. I>. M. Watts, member for Drumraond. 

Aftermath. 183 

misgiving, and scented ruin or further depression in the not distant 
future. Some were republicans by predilection and on principle. 
A few were disappointed Tories who were disgusted at the Imperial 
Government for upholding the Rebellion Losses Bill, and whose dis- 
gust was so profound that they could find no sympathy in the ranks 
of the British American League. The rest were discontented radicals 
for whom the policy of the Government was not sufficiently advanced. 
Lord Elgin was not disposed to treat the promoters of the movement 
harshly, knowing that many of them had substantial grounds for 
discontent; but he deemed it necessary to cancel the commissions of 
such of them as held office at pleasure. Of course the Home Gov- 
ernment sanctioned this step, and conveyed to his Excellency the 
Queen's command to resist to the utmost any attempt to effect a 
separation between Canada and the mother country, the connection 
between which, it was claimed, was highly advantageous to both.* 
By the time the despatch embodying this command reached Lord 
Elgin the movement was practically at an end, though its advocates 
did not actually relinquish their designs until some months after- 

In the beginning of November the removal of the departments 
from Montreal to Toronto took place. The respective offices were 
located in the long pile of buildings on Front street which had been 
used for Parliamentary purposes before the Union. The Governor 
himself, after a brief sojourn at a hotel, took up his abode at 
Elmsley Villa, a well-known structure of those days which stood 
on the site now occupied by the Central Presbyterian Church, on 
the corner of Grosvenor and St. Vincent streets. 

Several ministerial changes occurred during the latter months of 
the year. Mr. (L. M.) Viger, being unable to approve of the 
removal of the seat of Government to Toronto, retired from 

See the despatch, dated 9th January, 1850. It wa reprinted in Canada with a b*au- 
tifully illuminated heading, and widely circulated throughout the Province. 

184 The Last Forty Years. 

the Cabinet on the 26th of November, and was succeeded in the 
Receiver-Generalship by Colonel Tache". This arrangement left 
vacant the office of Chief Commissioner of Public Works, which 
was filled on the 13th of December by the appointment of Mr. 
Chabot, one of the members for Quebec City. Mr. Caron retired 
from the Cabinet in November, but retained his place as Speaker 
of the Legislative Council. Mr. Malcolm Cameron, Assistant 
Commissioner of Public Works, also withdrew from the Govern- 
ment, owing to differences of opinion with his colleagues. The 
nature of these differences gave rise to much newspaper controversy 
at the time. Mr. Cameron asserted that his withdrawal was due to 
his not having been consulted by his colleagues on important public 
questions, and to his conviction that two Commissioners for the 
department of Public Works were unnecessary, and therefore a use- 
less expense to the country. On the other hand, it was claimed that 
Mr. Cameron had been ambitious of ministerial advancement in a 
direction which his colleagues were unable to gratify, and that he 
had retired from mere spleen. The only thing certain about the 
matter is that Mr. Cameron resigned in December, though his resig- 
nation did not formally take effect until the appointment of his 
successor in the following year. Mr. Blake's retirement from the 
Solicitor-Generalship for Upper Canada a non-ministerial office 
has already been chronicled. He was succeeded by Mr. John Sand- 
field Macdonald, of Glengarry, who entered upon the duties of his 
office on the 14th of December. 

Soon after the advent of the new year (1850) it became evident 
that other ministerial changes were desirable. Public opinion 
pointed to Mr. Merritt as the most competent man in the country 
to be entrusted with the department of Public Works, to which Mr. 
Chabot had just been appointed. At the end of March urgent 
private reasons compelled Mr. Chabot to resign, and a week later 
Mr. Merritt succeeded to the office. This left the Ministry with 


Aftermath. 185 

only seven members ; but on the 17th of April the Hon. Joseph 
Bourret, of Montreal, a French Canadian and a member of the 
Legislative Council, accepted the office of Assistant Commissioner 
of Public Works, which had been vacated by Mr. Cameron.* Mr. 
Bourret at the same time became President of the Council, which 
position Mr. Merritt had demitted upon his acceptance of the Chief 
Commissionership. The composition of the Ministry thenceforward 
remained unchanged until near the end of the year. 

It was during this period that the combination known in our 
history as " the Clear Grit Departure " took its rise. Ever since the 
prorogation in 1849 there had been indications of dissatisfaction 
with the Government on the part of certain Upper Canadian 
Reformers. The Reform party was large, and composed of hetero- 
geneous elements, some of which did not readily assimilate. "It 
cannot be expected," says Sir Francis Hincks.f " that there will be 
the same unanimity among the members of a party of progress as in 
one formed to resist organic changes. In the former there will 
always be a section dissatisfied with what they think the inertness of 
their leaders." The distinction here drawn is one which has long been 
a recognized fact in politics. The difficulty experienced by Reformers, 
as compared with their Conservative opponents, in the matter of 
efficient party organization, has become proverbial in Canada. It 
made itself clearly apparent before the close of the year 1849. The 

Mr. John Wetenhall, who represented the county of Halton In th Assembly, and 
who wag President of the Provincial Agricultural Society, had been appointed to the 
Assistant Commissionership, as Mr. Cameron's successor, in the beginning of February. 
His acceptance of office vacated his seat in the Assembly, and ha was compelled to enter 
upon what proved to be a vigorously-conducted election contest with Mr. Caleb Hopkins, 
of the township of Nelson. Early in the campaign Mr. Wetenhall's mental powers gave 
way under the pressure upon his nervous system, and it was found necessary to confine 
him in the Provincial Lunatic Asylum. Mr. Hopkins was elected, and Mr. Wetenhall's 
appointment of Assistant Commissioner of Public Works never took effect. The latter 
died in the Asylum under very painful circumstances a few months afterwards. 

t " The Political History of Canada between 1840 and 1806 ; " p. 3 

186 The Last Forty Years. 

most radical element in the party complained that the Ministry did 
not move fast enough. This allegation was made upon various 
grounds, but the principal complaint was that Ministers were dila- 
tory in pushing through the settlement of the Clergy Reserves. 
The origin and nature of this question will be disclosed in the next 
chapter. As the months passed by the discontented ones became 
more pronounced in their opposition to the Ministry, and by the 
beginning of the year 1850 had formed themselves into a distinct 
and separate party. They laid down a platform, enlisted the ser- 
vices of the press, and acquired a distinct party cognomen which 
has survived to the present day. 

The platform embraced, among other radical changes: (1.) the 
application of the elective principle to all the officials and institu- 
tions of the country, from the head of the Government downwards ; 
(2.) universal suffrage ; (3.) vote by ballot ; (4.) biennial Parlia- 
ments ; (5.) the abolition of property qualification for Parliamentary 
representatives ; (6.) a fixed term for the holding of general elections, 
and for the assembling of the Legislature ; (7.) retrenchment in the 
expenses of carrying on the Administration; (8.) the abolition of 
pensions to judges ; (9.) the abolition of the Courts of Common 
Pleas and Chancery, and the giving of an enlarged equitable juris- 
diction to the Court of Queen's Bench ; (10.) reduction of lawyers' 
fees; (11.) free trade and direct taxation; (12.) an amended jury law; 
(13.) the abolition or modification of the usury laws ; (14.) the 
abolition of the doctrine of primogeniture, as applied to real estate ; 
(15.) the secularization of the Clergy Reserves, and the abolition of 
the rectories. Many of these were already well-known planks in 
the platform of the Reform Party generally, and to some of them 
the Ministry were practically committed.* As regarded others, they 

* " Keform of the suffrage, stringent retrenchment, reduction of law costs, further 
reform of the Judiciary, free traile, the opening up of the Clergy Reserves, the revocation 
of the 57 Rectory patents, if found to be fraudulent, the abolition of the law of prinm- 

Aftermath. 187 

were such as the Government could not approve. For instance, the 
proposed sweeping application of the elective principle and universal 
suffrage were among the reforms which, in the language of the chief 
ministerial organ, "embody the whole difference between a republi- 
can form of Government and the limited monarchy of Great Britain."* 
The chief newspaper organ of the new party, during this early 
period of their existence, was the Toronto Examiner, which had 
long been weary of following in the wake of the Olobe as an ex- 
ponent of ministerial views. 

Chief among the advocates of the advanced platform were Messrs. 
Caleb Hopkins, Peter Perry, David Christie, James Lesslie, Dr. 
John Rolph, and William McDougall. With these Mr. Malcolm 
Cameron formally allied himself after his secession from the Admin- 

Mr. Hopkins was a farmer, resident in the township of Nelson, in 
the county of Halton. He was a man of considerable energy and 
native sagacity, and posesssed much local influence. He had repre- 
sented the East Riding of Halton in the First Parliament after the 
Union, and in March, 1850, he was again returned for the county 
against the ministerial candidate.f Peter Perry resided at Whitby, 
in what was then the East Riding of York now the County of 
Ontario where he had long been engaged in mercantile pursuits, 
and was known as an able man, of great enterprise and public 
spirit, albeit somewhat deficient in educational acquirements. He 
was one of the founders of the Reform Party of Upper Canada 
in 1824, and had ever since been recognized as one of the 
most efficient " fighting men " in its ranks. From 1824 to 1836 
he represented the United Counties of Lennox and Addington 

geniture, tin- alxilition of the usury la\v, and the reform of the jury (yitem are practical 
question- on which the Itefnrm Party of Upper Canada are generally united, and which we 
have always contended for. . . There wan no need to net up a new party for the agita- 
tion of UXMC topics. ''{llobe, March 23nl, 

Olobf, March 2.Vd, 18X). \Antr. n. 1S.\ 

188 The Last Forty Tears. 

in the Upper Canadian Assembly. Since the Union he had been 
to some extent overshadowed by Mr. Baldwin and others, and 
had remained out of Parliament, though he stood high in the 
confidence of his party, and carried considerable weight. He 
was extreme in his opinions, and demonstrative in expressing 
them, whereby he made for himself a good many enemies ; but he 
was a most effective stump orator, and an important factor in local 
election campaigns. He had been a prominent supporter of Solici- 
tor-General Blake, and had been largely instrumental in securing 
that gentleman's return to Parliament for the constituency in which 
Mr. Perry resided. Upon Mr. Blake's resignation of his seat, 
consequent upon his acceptance of the post of Chancellor, Mr. 
Perry was elected in his stead, and once more entered public 
life. David Christie was a farmer, resident in what is now 
the county of Brant, where he took an active part in politics, 
and was known as one of the leading agriculturists of the country. 
James Lesslie, who still resides in the neighbourhood of Toronto, 
was the proprietor of the Examiner, and had long been a lead- 
ing advocate of Reform interests. Dr. Rolph has already been 
partially introduced to the reader.* He was unquestionably one of 
the ablest men who have figured in political and professional life in 
this country. He was of English birth, but came over to Canada 
in his youth, and settled in the county of Norfolk, whence he sub- 
sequently removed to Dundas, and thence, in 1832, to Little York. 
He attained high repute at the bar, as well as in the ranks of the 
Reform Party. For some years he sat in the old Upper Canadian 
Assembly, and did excellent service to the Reform cause, both in and 
out of Parliament. His famous speech on the subject of the secu- 
larization of the Clergy Reserves, delivered in the Assembly in 1836, 
was a notably brilliant specimen of argumentative oratory, and went 

"Ante, Vol. I., pp. 299, 313. 

Aftermath. 189 

over the entire question of the connection between Church and State. 
After practising at the bar with great success for many years, he 
abandoned that pursuit, in consequence, it is said, of his dissatisfac- 
tion with certain decisions of the Chief Justice, the Hon. (after- 
wards Sir) John Beverley Robinson, and took up the medical 
profession,* in which he also attained a foremost place. His 
connection with the rebellion of 1837-'38, his escape to the 
United States, and his subsequent pardon and return to Canada, 
have all been referred to in former pages. After his return 
he resumed the practice of the medical profession in Toronto, where 
he founded one of the leading medical schools in the Province. He 
was a man of very remarkable subtlety and versatility of intellect. 
It is impossible to contemplate his long and chequered life without 
feeling respect for his great abilities; though, owing to certain unplea- 
sant passages in his career, he failed to command the confidence of 
some leading members of the Reform Party. William McDougall, who 
at the present day still presents all the appearance of one enjoying a 
hearty and vigorous prime, was then a young man with a reputation 
still to be made. He is a native Canadian, born at York in 1822, so 
that he was still uader thirty years of age at the period under con- 
sideration. He had studied law in Toronto, in the office of James 
Hervey Price, and had been admitted as an attorney and solicitor in 
1847. Though he practised his profession, his time was chiefly 
taken up by journalistic pursuits. He was a contributor to the 
columns of Tlie Examiner, and published an agricultural paper on 
his own account called Tlie Canada, Farmer. During the year 1850 
h>' was largely instrumental in founding the North American news- 
paper at Toronto, of which he assumed the editorship, and which he 
conducted with much ability and vigour. It was founded as the 

In his youth, before leaving England, he hml studied medicine under Sir Aitley Cooper, 
and ha<l also been called to the bar of tho Inner Temple. He practiced both law and 
iu> liciue simultaneously during many yean in Canada. 

190 The Last Forty Years. 

authorized exponent of Clear Grit principles, the Examiner not 
being sufficiently advanced in its radicalism to meet the views of 
some of the leaders of the new party. We shall meet Mr. McDougall 
many times in the subsequent course of the narrative. Such were 
the chief propounders of the Clear Grit * platform. 

A similar movement was about the same time set on foot in the 
lower section of the Province, under the auspices of Mr. Papineau. 
It was organized at Montreal, under the title of " Le Partie Rouge." 
Its membership was chiefly confined to young French Canadians, 
though a few advanced radicals of British stock were also to be 
found in its ranks. Its platform seems to have been very elastic, 
and many of its adherents were disposed to go even farther than the 
Clear Grits in western Canada. They not only advocated such 
reforms as universal suffrage and the abolition of property qualifica- 
tion for members of the Legislature, but pronounced in favour of 
the repeal of the Union, a republican form of Government, and more 
or less speedy annexation to the United States. They also pro- 
fessed themselves hostile, not only to a State religion, but to any 
religion at all.f In short, the Rouges of Lower Canada seem to 

* Various accounts of the origin of this not very dignified party designation have been 
given. The one which appears to be best authenticated refers it to a conversation between 
the late Mr. Brown and David Christie. These two gentlemen, it is said, were discussing 
the merits of the proposed " departure " early in the autumn of 1849. Mr. Brown declined 
to join the movement, and mentioned the name of a common friend of Mr. ChrUtie 
and himself as also likely to hold aloof. "Him!" exclaimed Mr. Christie "we don't 
want him 1 We want only men who are dear grit." Soon afterwards the Olobe began to 
refer to the members of the new party as " Clear Grits." We find them so designated 
by that journal several times during the month of December, 1849. They seem to have 
accepted the designation, for we soon after find them applying the term to themselves in 
the Examiner and elsewhere. In the Olobe for January 10th, 1850, we find the following 
passage in an editorial on " The Clear Grits : " " The Globe merely gave the name which 
they themselves had assumed to a little miserable clique of office-seeking, bunkum-talking 
cormorants who met in a certain lawyer's office in King St., and announced their intent : n 
to form a new party on ' clear Grit ' principles." The ' ' certain lawyer " was Mr. William 

t " Le partie rouge," says La Minene, " s'est forme" h Montreal sous les auspices de M. 
Papineau, en haine des institutions anglaises, de notre constitution d&lare'e viceuse, i-t 

Aftermath. 191 

have been well-intentioned but rather feeble copies of their proto- 
types in the French Convention. Their chief organ was L'Avenir, 
and among the leading members, in addition to Mr. Papineau, were 
Antoine A inn- Dorion, J. B. E. Dorion, L. H. Holton and Charles J. 

As the time drew near for the meeting of the session of 1850, the 
discussion of the Clergy Reserves came even more conspicuously to 
the front than had ordinarily been the case of late years. The 
question was not to be finally set at rest for some sessions yet to 
come, but during the interval it was the most absorbing topic of 
public interest, and some knowledge of the subject is absolutely 
necessary to a proper understanding of the history of the time. 
Before carrying the narrative any farther, therefore, a brief histori- 
cal retrospect is desirable. 

urtout du gouvernement responiabla regardl comme une duperia, avec del idle* d'innova- 
tion en religion et en politique, accompagneai d'une haine prnfonda pour la clerge*, et avec 
I'intention bien formelle et bien prononce> d'annexer la Canada aux EUU-Unla," 



" Instead of making a State provision for any one or more churches : instead of appor- 
tioning the Clergy Reserves among them with a view to promoting Christianity : instead 
of giving pensions or salaries to ministers to make them independent of voluntary con- 
tributions from the people: I would studiously avoid that policy, and leave truth 
unfettered and unimpeded to make her own conquests. Lawyers and physicians have no 
Clergy Reserves. They depend upon the support of the community which beneBts by 
their labours. The professions of law and physic are well represented in this Assembly, 
and bear ample testimony to the generosity of the people towards them. Will good, 
pious and evangelical ministers of our holy religion be likely to fare worse than the 
physicians of the body, or the agents for our temporal affairs ? Let gospel ministers, as 
the Scriptures say, live by gospel, and the apostolic maxim that the workman is worthy 
of his hire implies the performance of duty rewarded temporarily by those who impose it. 
There is no fear that the profession will become extinct for want of professors." DOCTOR 
JOHN ROLPH'S Speech on the Clergy Retervel in the Upper Canadian Assembly in 1836. 

HE Imperial Statute 31 Geo. III., chapter 31 generally 
known in our history as the Constitutional Act of 
1791 contained certain enactments which were des- 
tined to produce a greater amount of animosity and 
heartburning in Upper Canada than all other public 
causes of discord combined. To the indefinite phrase- 
ology of those enactments must be referred the fiercest of the faction 
fights which periodically disturbed the peace of the Legislative 
Assembly for more than sixteen years before the Union. To them, 
and to the disputes arising out of them, is to be attributed the bitter 
hostility with which the Church of England was long regarded in 
Upper Canada by such of the religious population as did not sub- 
scribe to Episcopal doctrines. To them, more than to any other 


Clergy Reserves. 193 

cause whatever, the Upper Canadian rebellion owed its origia 
Before the question to which these unfortunate enactments gave 
rise was finally set at rest, they had also produced some of the most 
fervid debates ever heard within the walls of the United Parlia- 
ment. They formed the key-note of several general elections, and 
largely shaped the policy of two successive Administrations. In a 
word, out of these enactments grew the vexed question of the 
Clergy Reserves. 

By the 3Cth section of the Act His Majesty was authorized to 
reserve out of future grants of land within the Provinces of Upper 
and Lower Canada, as well as in respect of all past grants, a quan- 
tity equal in value to a seventh part of the lands so granted, for the 
maintenance and support of " a Protestant Clergy." Sections 38 to 
41 provided regulations for the erection and endowment of rectories, 
one or more in every township or parish, "according to the estab- 
lishment of the Church of England ;" and section 42 empowered 
the respective Legislatures of the two Provinces, subject to certain 
restrictions, to vary or repeal any of these enactments. 

In Lower Canada no Reserves were set apart until the year 1796, 
and the Clergy Reserve question never assumed very formidable pro- 
portions there, except in so far as it was reflected, after the Union, as 
a purely party measure from the western section of the Province. 
Even in Upper Canada, which at the time of its creation as a 
separate Province was but sparsely populated, the ill effect did not 
make itself seriously felt until some years afterwards. In carrying 
out the provisions of the Act, instructions were given that the 
reserved lands should be intermixed with those granted to settlers ; 
the intention being to spread them over a large area, and to 
create a tenantry in each individual towaship which should be 
settled, with a view to the ultimate creation of parishes. It waa 
however impossible to apply this rule universally, as much of the 
N' iagara peninsula, and also a part of the Western District, as well 

194 The Last Forty Years. 

as several townships along the St. Lawrence, had already been 
granted to U. E. Loyalists, without any portion thereof having 
been reserved. To meet these cases, large blocks of aggregated 
X Reserves were set apart in adjoining townships which had not been 
taken up for purposes of settlement. It is obvious that such a 
system as this must sooner or later operate very prejudicially to 
the progress of the country where it is tolerated. It was felt as an 
obstruction to the settlement of the Province long before it assumed 
the shape of a grievance on religious grounds.* For many years no 
authority existed for selling the reserved lands. The Church of 
England claimed and exerted exclusive right and control over them, 
contending that the clergy of that Church, and they only, were 
entitled to be regarded as " a Protestant Clergy." A clerical corpora- 
tion was established with power to grant leases for twenty-one 
years, and proceeded to create leasehold tenancies in favour of such 
approved persons as applied for them. The amount of rent charged 
was at first little more than nominal, but the free granting of lands 
by the Crown prevented much demand for leaseholds at any price. 
" So late as 1824," says a Canadian journalist, writing in 1851, " the 
whole amount due for rent was only 1,200; and of this it was 
estimated that not more than one-third could be collected without 
having recourse to legal process."f It was thus evident that the 
leasing system was not a success. The Reserves were unpopular 
with all but adherents of the Church of England, being regarded as 
obstructions to settlement, and as standing witnesses of the domina- 
v tion of a privileged hierarchy. 

In 1817 a series of resolutions was introduced into the Assembly 
proposing a sale of half the lands reserved, and the application of 
the proceeds to secular purposes. These resolutions were unpro- 

*" Religious Endowments in Canada. A Chapter of Canadian History," by Sir 
Francis Hincks, K.C.M.G., C.B. London, 1809; p. 3. 

+ See North American, September 5th, 1851. 


Clergy Reserves. 195 

ductive of any immediate result, owing to the summary and prema- 
ture prorogation of Parliament by the Lieutenant-Governor ; but 
they drew general attention to the fact that the Reserves were a 
serious abuse, and a drawback to the material progress of the coun- 
try. Robert Gourlay also, during his ill-starred sojourn in Upper 
Canada, contributed by his literary and oratorical efforts to a public 
awakening on the subject. Meetings were held in various parts of 
the Province. Speeches directed against the arbitrary pretensions 
of the Church of England were made by zealous Presbyterians and 
Methodists. The Reserves found a strenuous champion in Dr. 
Strachan, Rector, and afterwards Archdeacon of York, but better 
known in later times as Bishop of Toronto. The Doctor, in 
addition to being a man of superabundant energy and fertility of 
resource, was the mouthpiece of the Family Compact, and the 
zealous upholder of the doctrines of the Church of England. His 
influence over the Executive was for years almost unbounded, and 
he was able to make the most of such technical arguments as his 
side of the case presented. Nor were those arguments with- 
out plausibility. The Clergy Reserves were an undoubted abuse, 
but it would be a great mistake to suppose that no strictly legal 
case could be made out for the exclusive claims set up in respect 
of them by the Church of England. That Church had, by implica- 
tion, obtained at least partial State recognition at the hands of the 
framers of the Constitutional Act. The territory thereby authorized 
to be set apart was, as has been seen, declared to be for the support 
of "a Protestant Clergy." Although the Anglican Church had not 
been designated by name, there were grounds for arguing that that 
Church had been intended as the exclusive recipient of the State 
bounty. In those days, the word " clergy " was not ordinarily em- 
ployed to designate any ministers of religion except those of the 
Church of Rome and those of the Church of England, and it had 
never been so employed in any Act of the British Parliament The 

196 The Last Forty Years. 

Church of Rome was of course excluded by the term " Protestant ;" so 
that, according to this strictly technical argument, the only remaining 
factor was the Church of England. Then, as has been seen, the 
Act contained clauses making provision for the establishment of 
parsonages and rectories, which are peculiarly Church of England 
institutions. Within two years after the time when the Act came 
into operation, an Anglican Bishopric had been established in 
Canada. Governor Siincoe and his coadjutors in the founding of 
the Upper Province had all been zealous for the establishment of 
the Church of England there on a sure basis. Their zeal was doubt- 
less due quite as much to political as to theological motives, but it 
was none the less an indication of the purpose which the Clergy 
Reserves had been intended to effect. We may be sure that Dr. 
Strachan made the most of such arguments as these, and that the 
Church of England in Upper Canada lost nothing in those days 
through the diffidence of her advocate. 

On the other hand, supposing the foregoing argument to be 
unanswerable as matter of law, it was purely technical in its 
character, and did not go to the root of the matter. The Clergy 
Reserves, by the extent to which they retarded settlement, were 
already beginning to make themselves felt as a national curse. If 
the law was in favour of their retention, it was clearly a bad law, 
and should be speedily repealed. Such was the plea put forward 
by " dissenters," as they were called, and even by a few liberal- 
minded lay Episcopalians. But dissenters were not disposed to 
grant the exclusive claims of the ministry of the Church of England 
to be regarded as the only " Protestant Clergy." That term, they 
argued, had been employed by the framers of the Constitutional Act contradistinction to the clergy of the Church of Rome, and not as 
intended to exclusively indicate the clergy of the Church of Eng- 
land. Moreover, the terra " Incumbents or Ministers of the Church 
of England " had been used in the Act, and it was contended that 

Clergy Reserves. 197 

such a phrase would not have been employed if it had been regarded 
as synonymous with the expression " Protestant Clergy." The 
clauses providing for the establishment of parsonages and rectories, 
it was argued, referred merely to matters of detail, and could not be 
allowed to override the larger intention of the Act, which was to 
make provision for a Protestant as distinguished from a Roman 
Catholic Clergy. The Presbyterians had a distinct argument of 

. their own. By the Act of Union of the two kingdoms of England 
and Scotland it was made a fundamental article that "the true 
Protestant religion" as then professed in Scotland, "with the wor- 
ship, discipline, and government " of that Church, should be effectu- 
ally and unalterably secured within the kingdom of Scotland. The 
Church of Scotland having thus been recognized by the State as a 

\ Protestant Church, surely the ministers thereof were entitled to be 
regarded as a " Protestant Clergy." Several British statutes passed 
subsequent to the Constitutional Act of 1791 expressly referred to 
them as " Clergy."* This contention was fully sustained in 1819 by 
the English law officers of the Crown, to whom the question was 
then referred by the Imperial Government in consequence of a 
despatch from Sir Peregrine Maitland. " We are of opinion," wrote 
those eminent jurists, "that though the provisions made by 31st 
Qeo. III., c. 31, ss. 36-42, for the support and maintenance of a 
Protestant Clergy, are not confined solely to the Clergy of the 
Church of England, but may be extended also to the Clergy of the 
Church of Scotland, if there are any such settled in Canada (as 
appears to have been admitted in the debate upon the passing of the 
Act) ; yet that they do not extend to Dissenting Ministers, since we 
think the term Protestant Clergy can apply only to Protestant 
Clergy recognized and established by law." 

Meanwhile the Reserves were every year becoming more and 

See, for instance, 48 Geo. III., o. 138; 80 Geo. III., o, 84 j and 6 Geo. IV., o. 72. 

198 The Last Forty Years. 

more valuable, and had begun to yield a considerable revenue. The 
right of the Church of Scotland to participate in this revenue having 
been recognized by the law officers of the Crown, its adherents soon 
afterwards began to press their claims. Mr. William Morris, whom 
we have met in more recent times as a member of Lord Metcalfe's 
Government, moved and carried a series of resolutions on the subject 
in the Upper Canadian Assembly. Upon these an Address to the 
King was founded, praying that His Majesty would direct such 
measures as would secure to the Clergy of the Church of Scotland 
such support as might be thought proper. The Church of England, 
through Dr. Strachan, put forth its weightiest efforts to oppose the 
Presbyterian claims, and to substantiate its own alleged right to ex- 
clusive control of the Reserves. The Doctor soon afterwards repaired 
to England, backed by the influence of Sir Peregrine Maitland, to 
urge the Episcopalian side of the argument at the Home Office. 
His efforts were for the time unproductive, as to the main 
purpose to which they were directed, though there can be no 
doubt that he gained many advocates for his views. Time fails us 
to follow the history of the question in detail down to the time of 
the Union. The ministers of other Protestant denominations put 
forward claims on behalf of their respective sects to participate in 
the Reserves, upon the ground that they, no less than their Episco- 
palian and Presbyterian brethren, were entitled to be regarded as 
"Protestant Clergy." It soon became apparent that no equitable 
apportionment would ever be effected, even if the Legislature could 
be induced to assent to such a project. There were many persons 
also who disapproved of State aid to religious bodies ; and erelong 
an agitation arose for the total abolition of such aid. An organized 
Reform Party came into existence, and battled vigorously for the 
secularization of the Reserves that is to say, for the diverting of 
them from religious purposes by a sale of the lands, and the appli- 
cation of the proceeds to education and municipal improvements. 

Clergy Reserves. 199 

Every session of the Assembly was marked by hot debates on the 
subject. The advocates of secularization repeatedly carried their 
^ point in the Lower House, but were checkmated by the refusal 
of the Legislative Council to concur. The Council was appointed 
by the Executive, and for many years the Executive was the mere 
tool of Dr. Strachan. Thus it was that the clause in the Constitu- 
tional Act authorizing the Provincial Legislature to " vary or repeal " 
its provisions was a dead letter. And it may here be remarked that 
this was the conjunction of circumstances that first gave rise to the 
agitation for Responsible Government in Upper Canada. 

In January, 1836, Sir John Col borne, Lieutenant-Governor of the 
Province, gave way for Sir Francis Bond Head. A few days before 
his departure, and while his successor was actually on the way from 
New York to Toronto, Sir John, at the instigation of the Executive 
> Council, created and endowed forty-four* rectories in Upper Canada. 
They were endowed with more than 17,000 acres of land, giving an 
average of about 38G acres to each. They were put in possession of 
clergymen, who thus acquired a quasi-personal interest in the lands, 
which interest, it was believed, would prevent the latter from being 
ousted by course of law. When this proceeding became known the 
public indignation was tremendous. Such a complete disregard of 
the popular wishes on the part of the Executive was intolerable. 
Meetings were held at which the action of his Excellency was 
denounced, and the newspapers spoke out with a plainness not to be 
mistaken. Petitions were sent across the Atlantic praying that the 
act of Her Majesty's representative might be annulled.f The 
legality of the transaction was disputed, and the law officers of the 

Not fifty-seven, as sUted in the histories. Thirteen of the patent* were left unsigned 
by the Lieutenant-Governor, ami the authorities refused to complete or recognize them. 

t ' ' The temper of the public mind became Imbued with that sullennex which a sense of 
injury begeU, and which forelwdes the approach of civil commotion." Aur/A AmtrtetM, 
October 24th, 1851. 

200 The Last Forty Years. 

Crown, to whom the question was referred, pronounced on the 
facts before them that the creation and endowment were not 
" valid and lawful acts." This opinion having been communicated 
to Dr. Strachan, that reverend gentleman prepared an elaborate 
report, embodying various facts and documents which had not pre- 
viously been submitted to the law officers. The latter accordingly 
considered the case in the new aspect thus presented, and arrived 
at the conclusion that the creation and endowment were legal 
The arrangement, therefore, was not disturbed. 

The rebellion of 1837-'38 came and went, leaving the great Clergy 
Reserve problem yet unsolved. Scarcely were the embers of dis- 
affection extinguished ere the agitation for secularization burst forth 
afresh. The Union project caused a lull in the storm. Upon the 
arrival in Upper Canada of Mr. Thomson afterwards Lord Syden- 
ham- that gentleman perceived the utility of settling the question 
before the Union Act should take effect. At his instigation an Act 
was passed by the local Assembly providing for a distribution of the 
Reserves among the various religious denominations recognized by 
law. Through the personal influence of the Governor-General the 
assent of the Legislative Council to the measure was also procured. 
It was however an unpopular measure with all classes, and recognized 
a principle against which a great majority of the people's represen- 
tatives in the Assembly had for years contended; namely, that 
State property may justly be appropriated for religious pur- 
poses. Of this the Governor was well aware, but he was desirous 
of settling the question in some way, and this was the most equit- 
able to which he could then obtain assent. No man of less energy 
and finesse could have succeeded in getting such a measure through 
either House of Parliament. When its provisions became known, 
petitions against it began to circulate throughout the Province. 
They however proved to be unnecessary. The English judges, 
on certain technical grounds not necessary to be here specified, pro- 

Clergy Reserves. 201 

'X nounced the Act to be ultra vires, and it was accordingly disallowed.* 
But the necessity for promptly dealing with the matter was recog- 
nized by the Home Government, and an Imperial Act was framed 
and passed during the session of 1840 (3 and 4 Vic., c. 78), author- 
1 \ izing the Governor, with the advice of his Council, to sell and 
distribute the Reserves. It was enacted that no further reservations 
should be made, and that the proceeds of previous sales should be 
distributed between the Churches of England and Scotland, to the 
exclusion of all other denominations, in the proportions of two-thirds 
and one-third respectively. All future proceeds were to be divided 
as follows: one-third to the Church of England, one-sixth to the 
Church of Scotland ; and the residue to be applied by the Governor, 
with the advice of his Council, " for purposes of public worship and 
religious instruction in Canada." The meaning of the latter pro- 
vision was that the residue should be apportioned among such 
dissenting denominations as chose to apply for a share of it. 

For several years subsequent to the Union this arrangement was 
allowed to rest undisturbed. It was inevitable, however, that the 
agitation should be renewed sooner or later, for the distribution as 
settled by the Act was inequitable, and founded on an erroneous 
construction of the census. The spiritual peers in the Upper House, 
moreover, were doubtless in a great measure responsible for the frame- 
work of the Act, and it was hardly to be expected that those rever- 
end prelates would be able to approach the consideration of such a 
subject with a perfectly unbiassed mind. The very principle of the 
grant was unpalatable to certain denominations, which declined to 
avail themselves of it. The Disruption in the Scottish Church in 
1843 was reflected in Canada soon afterwards, and doubtless precipi- 
tated the revival of the Clergy Reserves agitation. In 1844 many 

v x Reformers in Upper Canada contended that secularization should be 
made a plank in their party platform. Thenceforward down to the 

Ante, Vol. I., p. 66. 

202 The Last Forty Years. 

period at which the narrative has arrived the agitation gained 
strength. The Church of England, which already enjoyed the lion's 
share of the State grant, bestirred itself to gain further advantages. 
During Mr. Sherwood's tenure of office as Solicitor-General he pro- 
posed an address to the Crown praying for a new Imperial Act 
authorizing a division of the land itself, instead of the income aris- 
ing therefrom. The object was to enable the Church Societies to 
lease the lands, or to hold them at prices which would practically 
exclude them from the market. The motion was rejected by a 
majority of 37 to 14. The debate upon it plainly proved that some 
of the leaders of the Reform party were opposed to any reopening 
of the matter. Mr. Baldwin expressed his regret that it had been 
thought necessary to bring the question again before Parliament. 
He regretted it, he said, on account of the Church whose name was 
associated with it, and of which he was an humble member ; he re- 
gretted it on account of the Province at large, but more especially 
that part of it which had suffered from former agitation, and which, 
because of its more direct connection with the subject, was more 
susceptible of injurious excitement. He concluded a rather long 
speech by requesting both sides of the House to forbear reviving the 
question, adding that he had done all in his power to discourage its 
revival by those with whom he was accustomed to act. Mr. James 
Hervey Price, who was a Congregationalist, followed in the same 
strain. He stigmatized the Clergy Reserves as the chief cause of 
the rebellion, and as " one of the greatest curses that could have been 
inflicted on the land." He added, however, that the settlement 
under Lord Sydenham had been considered as final. Peace had 
succeeded the long and fierce conflict, and the country was settling 
down in the hope that agitation on the subject was at an end. 
Although three-fourths of the people believed that the arrangement 
had been made in injustice and partiality, they quietly submitted as 
the only means of restoring peace to the land. It is a significant 

Clergy Reserves. 203 

fact that, notwithstanding these remarks, Mr. Price was the man 
who some years afterwards moved the address in the Assembly for 
the repeal of the Imperial Act, with a view to the secularization 
of the Reserves by the Canadian Legislature. 

No sooner had a Reform Government succeeded to power, in 
1848, than it became evident that a large majority of the Upper 
Canadian people were thoroughly aroused on the subject. A cry rose 
up from end to end of the Province that the project of secularization 
had been long enough delayed, and the Ministry were importuned 
to lose no time in carrying it out. A matter very frequently 
lost sight of, however, both then and subsequently, by persons 
unfamiliar with the constitution, was that before any useful 

x legislation could be set on foot by the Canadian Parliament the 
repeal of the Imperial Act of 1840 must be procured. The new 
Administration, as we have seen, was formed while the session of 
1848 was in progress. That session came to an end a few days after- 
wards, and the remainder of the year was spent by the Government 
in preparing urgent legislation for the session of 1849. The latter 
was one of the busiest sessions known to our Parliamentary history, 
and was also, for reasons well known to the reader, one of the moat 
disturbed. But the agitators generally looked for some official 

x expression of opinion from the Government on the subject, and were 
not a little chagrined when the year 1849 passed away without any 
such expression having been uttered. A moody, discontented feel- 
ing began to take possession of the more advanced radicals, and the 
Clear Grits, as has been seen, formed themselves into a distinct third 
party, with secularization as one of their main purposes. When the 
Houses met in 1850 it became known that no steps had been taken 
to procure the repeal of the Imperial Act. 

Such was the aspect of affairs at the opening of the session of 
1850. And the end was not yet. Four more sessions were to 
elapse ere the irritating Clergy Reserves question was to become a 
thing of the past 

204 The Last Forty Tears. 

The quantity of Reserves in the Lower section of the Province 
was small as compared with those in the Upper, and, as has been 
seen, the question never became one of paramount importance there. 
But Lower Canada had a grievance of her own which had begun to 
make itself distinctly felt long before the Union, and had ever since 
been constantly thrusting itself upon public attention. This was the 
Seigniorial Tenure, the nature of which has been to some extent indi- 
cated on a former page.* It dated back to the early days of the colony, 
when the aristocracy of New France having obtained from the most 
Christian king, or his intermediaries, patents of large tracts of the 
colonial domain imported the feudal system into the New World, by 
constituting themselves seigniors, and granting out small holdings to 
soldiers and others who settled in the colony. These holdings were 
not granted in fee simple : a tenure unknown in Canada until after 
the Conquest: and the title conferred was in no sense absolute. 
A perpetual right of occupancy was however guaranteed by the 
seignior, subject to the performance by the occupant (called the 
censitaire) of certain specified services, and the periodical payment 
of a specified rent. The tenancy, such as it was, descended to the 
heir of the occupant, who stood in the same relation to the seignior 
or his heir as his ancestor had done. The amount of rent was at 
first little more than nominal, but the duties to be performed were 
sometimes onerous, and sometimes even absurd. The censitaire 
possessed the right of disposing of his holding, but upon every 
transfer the seignior was entitled to exact a fine equal in amount 
to one-twelfth of the price. Milling and other vexatious mono- 
polies were exercised by the seignior, and prevented the develop- 
ment of industry. + In some cases the seignior also claimed cer- 

Ante, Vol. I., p. 53. 

t " To grind his grain at the seignior's mill, bake his bread in the seignior's oven, work 
for him one or more days in the year, and give him one fish in every eleven, for the 
privilege of fishing in the river before his farm ; these were the most annoying of the 
conditions to which the censitaire was liable." "The Old Regime in Canada," by 
Francis Parkman, pp. 250, 231. 

Clergy Reserves. 205 

tain arbitrary privileges of a harassing nature, the exaction whereof 
led to great discontent and ill-feeling. A seigniory was frequently 
the subject of bargain and sale, and the purchaser was sometimes a 
person of humble origin, whose social ascendency was tolerated by 
the censitaires with ill-concealed aversion.* Under such a state of 
things the French Canadians grew up from generation to genera- 
tion ; but as time passed by the condition of the country improved, 
and the seigniorial claims proportionately increased in value. After 
the Conquest, many of the seigniors, driven by their own necessi- 
ties, began to make encroachments upon the rights of the censitaires, 
and to levy exactions which were clearly illegal. Rents were 
raised, and monopolies were enforced with a rigorous hand. The 
want of education and practical knowledge on the part of the 
unlettered habitant enabled his feudal lord to overstep the law 
with comparative impunity, and with such facilities for wrong- 
doing it was inevitable that gross abuses of power should occa- 
sionally come to light. Long before the period at which the 
narrative has arrived this Seigniorial Tenure had begun to be 
felt as at once a grievous burden upon the censitaire and an 
obstruction to the country's progress. This was more especially the 
case in cities and towns, where the objectionable features of the 
system naturally made themselves more conspicuous than in the 
rural districts. In the District of Montreal, where the rents were 
higher than in Quebec, the grievance was especially obnoxious. 
The " commonalty " by degrees awoke to the fact that they were 
living in a state of serfdom from which it was desirable that they 
should emancipate themselves. Such a relic of feudal times as 
the Seigniorial Tenure was totally unsuited to the condition of a 
progressive country, and the clamour for its abolition increased 

" A trader or a thrifty habitant might, and often did, become the buyer. If the Can*. 
<iian noble wan always a seignior, it is far from being true that the Canadian seignior wan 
always a noble."" The Old Regime in Canada," p. 2M. 

206 The Last Forty Years. 

year by year. It found few defenders, even among the seigniors 
themselves. The chief difference of opinion arose as to the question 
of commutation. The more advanced radicals advocated the total 
and immediate sweeping away of the entire system, without making 
any recompense to the seigniors. Persons of more moderate opinions 
admitted the right to compensation which the seigniors had acquired 
by prescription, and advocated a joint commutation of the cens et 
rentes by the State and the censitaires. An Act passed in 1849 
afforded certain facilities for an optional commutation, but its pro- 
visions afforded little or no practical relief to the censitaires, who 
refused to accept the measure as an adequate remedy for the evils 
to which they were subjected. 

Such were the most prominent features of the great question of 
the Seigniorial Tenure, which, jointly with that of the Clergy 
Reserves, was to engross a considerable share of the debates during 
every session for several years to come. 



" The great discordance of opinion on the subject [of the Clergy Reserves] expressed 
by the different Cabinet Ministers explained the mystery that bad bung over the action 
of the Government" North American, November 90th, 185L 

HE session of 1850 was opened by the Governor at 
Toronto on Tuesday, the 14th of May. The place of 
meeting was in the old Parliament Buildings on Front 
Street already mentioned ; being the identical struc- 
tures now used for Parliamentary purposes by the local 
Legislature of Ontario. Considerable expense had been 
incurred in renovating, refitting, and decorating the chambers respec- 
tively assigned to the two Houses, both of which presented a most 
tasteful appearance. The weather was delightful, and the streets 
were crowded with strangers who had arrived in the city to witness 
the opening ceremonies. It was remarked by the local press that 
art had combined with nature to celebrate in a fitting manner the 
reestablishment of a Parliament in the old capital of Upper Canada. 
The Speech from the Throne referred to the important changes 
which had recently been made in the Imperial Navigation laws, and 
expressed a belief that those changes, and the improvements in the 
Provincial canals, would materially tend to promote the commercial 
interests of the Province. Gratification was expressed at the im- 
proved position of Canadian securities in the British market ; and 
it was announced that an Act passed during the last session of the 
Imperial Parliament had conferred upon the Provincial authorities 

208 The Last Forty Years. 

entire control over the internal postal arrangements in British North 
America. The importance of establishing free trade between the 
various British North American colonies was referred to, as was also 
the project of reciprocity with the United States. A few of the 
proposed measures of the session were briefly touched upon, but 
there was no allusion to the question of the Clergy Reserves an 
omission which caused no little dissatisfaction among the advocates 
of secularization.* The Speech, as a whole, was practical in its tone, 
and indulged in fewer vague generalities than are commonly to be 
met with in such compositions. 

The debate on the Address in Reply occupied about a week in 
the Assembly,^ and was marked by exceptional virulence on the 
part of the Opposition, which consisted of three separate parties, 
having no sentiment in common except hostility to the Govern- 
ment. First in importance came the Conservative party, num- 
bering about fifteen members, with Sir Allan MacNab, John A. 
Macdonald, Henry Sherwood and William Cayley at their head. 
Next came the Clear Grit representatives, five or six in num- 
ber, including Malcolm Cameron, Peter Perry and Caleb Hop- 
kins. Then there were Mr. Papineau and the Rouges. In addi- 
tion to these three parties there were four or five members who, 
like Colonel Prince and Henry John Boulton.J called themselves 

*"We cannot conclude this notice without referring to the absence of the Clergy 
Reserve question from a place in the Speech. We need not say how much we regret that 
it is not to be a Ministerial question ; but we are free to state our conviction that if a 
difference of opinion does exist in the Cabinet on this subject, the Reform party of Upper 
Canada would not have justified those members who feel strongly with them upon it in 
retiring from office at this moment. Mr. Price has already announced his intention of 
bringing up the subjects of the Clergy Reserve and Rectories as open questions, and we 
trust and sincerely believe both will be satisfactorily settled during the session." Globe, 
Thursday, May 16th, 1850. 

fThe Address passed almost without discussion in the Legislative Council, where a 
single vote that of the Hon. Thomas McKay was recorded against it. 

JMr. Boulton had been returned by a Reform constituency (Norfolk) an a supporter of 
the Government, and had been reco(,Tiized as such until a short time before the opening 

The First Step Towards Secularization. 209 

Independents, and who sometimes voted with, and sometimes 
against, the Government. Among the earliest of the numerous 
amendments proposed to the Address were two series moved 
respectively by the two gentlemen last named. Those of Mr. 
Boulton sought, among other objects, to obtain a declaration by 
the House in favour of retrenchment in the public expenditure; 
of the application of the elective principle to members of the 
Legislative Council ; and of such a readjustment of the Parliamen- 
tary representation as should give to each section of the Province 
a membership proportionate to the population. Colonel Prince's 
amendments were directed to the abolition of the Court of Chancery, 
and to a condemnation of the Executive for dismissing from office 
various signers of the annexation manifesto.* All these amend- 
ments, together with many others, were voted down by varying 
majorities, and the Address as a whole was finally carried on Monday, 
the 27th, by a majority of 44 to 14. Mr. Papineau continued to 
avail himself of every opportunity of embarrassing the Government, 
and displayed a rancour which widened the breach that he had 
already created between himself and the more moderate of his 
compatriots. Sir Allan MacNab also exceeded his wont in the acri- 

of the session. His now appearing In the rank* of the Opposition was partly due to the 
Government's having refused to appoint him to a vacant judgeship. He was entitled to 
some consideration at the hands of the Ministry by reason of his services in the cause of 
Responsible Government, and he would doubtless have made an efficient judge ; bat there 
were episodes in his past career which had not tended to make him respected or popular, 
and so much influence was brought to bear against him that hit claims were pissed over, 
and the vacant position was filled by the appointment of Mr. Robert Easton Burns. 

* Before moving these amendments, Colonel Prince had presented a petition signed by 
"numerous respectable Canadians," praying the House to addreu Her Majesty with a 
request that Canada might be relieved from her dependent state, and allowed to become 
" an independent sovereignty." Mr. Baldwin regarded the petition as quasi-treasonable, 
and moved that it should not be received. The Colonel defended its reception with great 
volubility, but Mr. Baldwin's motion was carried, in a House of 64, by 6? votes to 7. Ths 
minority consisted of Colonel Prince himself, Malcolm Cameron, L. J. Papineau, Ben 
jainin Holmes, Jacob De Witt (Beauharnois), John MoConnell (StansteaJ), *nd J. S. 
Sunlmrn (Sherbrooke County). 

210 The Last Forty Years. 

moniousness of his opposition throughout the session. He revived 
the subject of rebellion losses, and alleged that the measure of the 
preceding session had been the direct cause of the annexation 
movement. Some of his public references to Mr. Lafontaine's 
alleged connection with the troubles of 1837-'38 were positively 
gross in their rude personality. His course during the entire session 
was simply splenetic and ill-tempered, insomuch that he alienated 
the support of some of his old colleagues. Colonel Gugy, who had 
always up to this time ranged himself among the ultra-Conservatives, 
now appeared in the rdle of a supporter of the Ministry. His seces- 
sion from the Conservative ranks was announced for the first time 
during the debate on one of Mr. Boulton's amendments to the 
Address. In the course of that debate Sir Allan struck right and 
left in his rancorous denunciations of Ministers and their policy, and 
even went so far as to refer to the Governor-General as having 
" shut himself up in his own particular cell at Monklands for three 
months, instead of riding into town every day and doing his duty." 
After a few pacificatory remarks from Mr. Merritt, who commented 
upon the impropriety of dragging his Excellency's name into the 
discussion, Colonel Gugy arose and formally announced that he 
could no longer support the policy of the gallant Knight from 
Hamilton. That honourable gentleman, he said, occupied a high 
position, in which he had the power of doing much good to his 
country, and of advancing its highest interests; but in his place 
that night he had not shown a proper sense of his position. He had 
only displayed an anxiety to wound, to lacerate the feelings of those 
opposed to him. The honourable member, perhaps, had not so 
intended, but there was little doubt that it would go abroad that he 
approved of the scenes of violence which had passed before their 
eyes last year, of which no Christian man, no man of good feeling 
could help disapproving. He (Colonel Gugy) declared that he was 
forced to create this breach with his friends, and that the act gave him 


The First Step Towards Secularization. 211 

the greatest pain. He could not expect any sympathy from mem- 
bers on the other side of the House, from whom he differed on many 
subjects, and who knew nothing beforehand of the step he was then 
taking. His intended course was well known to his friends on his 
own side of the House, however ; the matter had been discussed in 
private, and he had made no secret of his views. He would put the 
question on the broadest possible ground : on that debate depended 
the continuance in office of the Administration. He had had no 
communication with the Ministry, but he felt that he was bound by 
his duty to his country not to do anything to endanger their tenure 
of office. He wanted peace, and was averse to scenes of violence ; 
and he felt that the natural effect of the course of the gallant Knight 
was anarchy and confusion. There was already a great relaxation 
of social bonds in the country ; the standard of political morals was 
already too low, and the first duty of the Legislature was to raise it- 
He (Colonel Ougy) had all his life acted with the minority, and he 
expected still to continue to do so ; but he was prepared to bow to 
the decision of the majority. Every one knew that he was not 
pleased with the events which had preceded those scenes of violence 
which the gallant Knight had alluded to with questionable taste ; 
he was grieved by them, but he bowed to the popular sentiment 
He might be willing to see the dismissal of the Ministry, but he 
could see no chance of such a result from the course of the honour- 
able member. If, by a coalition between members who were 
monarchically inclined and those who were prepared to connect the 
Province with the neighbouring republic, they could turn out that 
Ministry, what would they substitute for them? Could they form 
an Administration to take their places which would last an hour ? 
Could they sit at the same board and not eat each other up ? Per- 
haps the honourable member hoped that he would eat up the other 
members as Aaron's rod swallowed all the rest If they could bring 
about such a result, ought they to do so ? He (Colonel Qugy) thought 

212 The Last Forty Years. 

that it was their duty to abstain from all attacks on the Administra- 
tion in regard to their treatment of the annexation question. One 
who had fought the battles of his country like the honourable and 
gallant Knight should have rather manifested a desire to support 
the constitution and those who upheld it. 

In this speech of Colonel Gugy may be discerned the first public 
indication of the movement which resulted, several years later, in 
the reorganization of the Tory party, and in the formation of the 
party which has ever since been known as Liberal-Conservative.* 

The project of increasing the representation was again introduced 
by Mr. Lafontaine, but was unsuccessful for the same reason as 
during the session of 1849 ; viz., the impossibility of obtaining a 
two-thirds vote in its favour. It was now defeated by a majority 
of five ; the vote upon it standing 51 to 21, and the two-thirds 
majority requiring a vote in its favour of at least 56. The reference 
which had been made in the opening Speech to the establishment of 
free-trade between the various British North American colonies was 
acted upon by the passing of a measure authorizing the Governor in 
Council from time to time to declare that any article grown, pro- 
duced or manufactured in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince 
Edward Island or Newfoundland, might be admitted into the 
Province free of duty. 

A characteristic feature of the debates was the frequent expression 
of a desire for retrenchment in the public service. The agitation on 
this subject had originated with the Clear Grits, but, being a popular 
political cry, it was taken up with more or less avidity by all the 
opponents of the Government, and even, in a quiet way, by some of 
their supporters. In spite of all opposition, .however, the Govern- 

* The Colonel himself probably had no idea of any such result at that time, nor had he 
any direct influence in bringing it about ; but his speech seems to have stimulated some 
Tory politicians to greater activity and independence of thought ; and it is certain that 
his remarks were quoted at party caucuses more than three years afterwards, when 
arrangements for reorganization were on foot. 

The First Step Towards Secularization. 213 

ment carried all their cherished measures by considerable majorities, 
and got through with a good deal of practical legislation. 

Among the most important of the questions which engrossed the 
attention of Parliament during the session was that of the Clergy 
Reserves. On the 18th of June, Mr. Price, Commissioner of Crown 
Lands, introduced a .series of resolutions, with the object of procur- 
ing the repeal of the Imperial Act of 1840, and of enabling the 
Canadian Legislature to dispose of the reserved lands, subject to the 
condition of securing to the existing holders for their lives the 
stipends to which they were entitled. These resolutions were not 
introduced officially, but on the sole responsibility of Mr. Price 
himself. The Ministry were not unanimous in their views on the 
question, and hence it had been found impossible to introduce a 
ministerial measure. The French Canadian members were much 
averse to committing themselves on the Clergy Reserves and Rectory 
questions. Mr. Lafontaine, after careful consideration, was unwilling 
to be instrumental in diverting the Reserves to secular purposes. 
Colonel Tach6 and Mr. Vigor were of a similar mind. Many Upper 
Canadian members who were not in the confidence of Ministers 
were disposed to be exceedingly suspicious of the ministerial tactics 
on this question. The Clear Grits repeatedly endeavoured to induce 
the Government to commit themselves to some specific line of action, 
but in vain. Ministers were taunted, through the press, and on the 
floor of the House, with a desire to shirk this great question of 
religious liberty and equality. During the discussion on the resolu- 
tions a dispute arose as to the best method of procedure. The 
general voice of the Assembly was in favour of procuring the repeal 
of the Imperial Act, as contemplated by the resolutions, before 
attempting to deal with the Reserves. The Clear Grits and a few 
other malcontents advocated the immediate passing, by the Pro- 
vincial Legislature, of a Bill dealing with the question, which Bill 
could afterwards be sent home to receive the royal assent Such 

214 The Last Forty Years. 

a proceeding, it was argued, would be a very clear indication of 
the wishes of the Canadian people, and the Imperial authorities, 
who had testified their approval of the doctrines of Responsible 
Government as applied to the colonies, would then not hesitate to 
repeal the Act of 1840. 

The differences of opinion between Ministers came out very clearly 
in the course of the discussion. Mr. Baldwin combated the idea that 
vested rights could justly be set aside by the mere will of a majority. 
That, he said, was a false principle, whether in politics or in morals. 
There must be such a thing as right and justice, whether opposed to 
the will of a majority or not. Nor did he admit that the Clergy 
Reserve lands were the property of the people in the sense in 
which they were sometimes said to be. They had been set apart 
for a particular purpose, and there must be something more than 
the mere will of a majority to justify the interference of Parlia- 
ment. Otherwise, he added, no man's property would be safe. 
The agitation on this question had been got up partly by persons 
having conscientious scruples against all religious endowments. 
For his part, he had no such scruples. He did not think endow- 
ments for religious purposes at all objectionable, but he did 
object to the union of the Church with the State. Up to the pass- 
ing of the Act of 1840 he had been of opinion that the revenues 
should be devoted to education ; but he felt that that Act had 
altered the position of affairs, and he did not feel so decided as to 
the mode in which the property should be disposed of. He was 
not prepared to go into the question; but he did not regard the 
Imperial Act as a final settlement, because it did not express the 
opinion of the Canadian people. 

Mr. Lafontaine said that he was not one of those who considered 
an Act of Parliament as a final settlement, but there was a great 
difference between considering a thing not final, and repealing 
every Act which embodied the rights of private individuals. In 

The First Step Towards Secularization. 215 

his opinion the granting of the Reserves had been a very injmli- 
cious exercise of power, but it had been effected by those who 
undoubtedly had the power, and if any individual rights had been 
obtained under that Act they should not be disturbed. lie con- 
sidered that the endowments should be held inviolate, and, as far 
as possible, carried into effect The honourable gentleman showed 
on how different a foundation the religious endowments of Lower 
Canada rested, nine-tenths of which had been donations from pri- 
vate individuals, and not from the Crown. 

Mr. Drummond took a stand directly opposed to that of Mr. 
Lafontaine. In the case of the Clergy Reserve lands, he said, there 
was no donee, and he regarded the endowment as incomplete. He 
denied that any vested right had arisen under the endowments. 
But even if there were such rights, was it not the first duty of 
Parliament to preserve the peace of society ? Did there not arise 
in all communities occasions in which the interests of society 
required that vested rights should be disturbed ? Who would say 
that France was in the wrong when she manumitted all the serfs in 
the country in a single night ? Yet that was an interference with 
a vested right. Was it wrong in England to free the blacks in the 
West Indies ? Was it wrong in the British Parliament to take 
from the bishops in Ireland a small portion of their large income ? 
Was it wrong in Lord Morpeth to propose to take an annual sum 
from the Irish Church and devote it to educational purposes, when 
in many of the benefices there were but few persons professing the 
religion of the Church of England, and in others none ? In the 
debates in the English Parliament on that proposal he did not find 
that any one had objected to it on the ground that it interfered 
with a vested right 

Mr. Hincks admitted the existence of wide differences of opinion 
in the Cabinet on the Clergy Reserves question, but he declared 
that it was an utter misrepresentation to charge members with 

216 The Last Forty Years. 

endeavouring to evade dealing with it. The Ministry were charged 
with being renegades and traitors because they did not choose to 
adopt the absurd and unconstitutional measure suggested by hon- 
ourable members who were willing to treat the question only by 
the introduction of a Bill. Those parties were striving to delude 
the Reform party when they declared that theirs was the only 
proper mode by which to bring about a satisfactory settlement. 

The constitutional right of the Canadian Legislature to pass a 
Bill dealing with the question gave rise to much subtlety of argument 
both in and out of Parliament. The Assembly solved the problem 
by passing Mr. Price's resolutions, and in due course an Address, 
founded upon them, was passed by a majority of forty-six to 
twenty-three, and sent over to England by Lord Elgin. His 
Excellency, in the despatch which accompanied the Address, ex- 
pressed his regret at the revival of the agitation on the Clergy 
Reserves question. This sentiment was reechoed in the reply of 
the Colonial Secretary, who, however, admitted that the question 
was one "so exclusively affecting the people of Canada that its 
decision ought not to be withdrawn from the Provincial Legis- 
lature."* It was, however, too late for the Imperial Government 
to give effect to the Address during the current year. They con- 
cluded to introduce the necessary legislation during the session of 
1851. Why they failed to carry out this intention will hereafter 
appear. The Canadian Legislature, by passing the Address, were 
for the time ^stopped from proceeding any farther with the matter. 
The question of the abolition of the Seigniorial Tenure came up 
for discussion in both Houses during the session, and prolonged but 
fruitless debates upon it took place. No definite plan of commuta- 
tion having been formed, the matter was left over to be dealt with 
in the future. The Provincial Parliament having, as already inti- 
mated, been invested with the control of the internal post office, a 

* See Earl Grey's despatch of January 27th, 1851. 


The First Step Towards Secularization. 217 

Postal Bill waa passed, making provision for the appointment of a 
Provincial Postmaster-General, and establishing cheap and uniform 
rates of postage. An amended Election Law, a Road Act, and a 
Banking Act were also placed on the statute-book. Among the 
other chief measures of the session were numerous Acts relating 
specially to Upper Canada. One of these was an Act extending 
the jurisdiction of Division Courts to 25, and establishing an 
improved system of procedure, together with an equitable scale of 
fees. Another extended the jurisdiction of County Courts. An- 
other provided for the better administration of justice in the Court 
of Chancery. Still another provided for the better establishment 
and maintenance of Common Schools, and made provision for the 
establishment of separate schools for the children of Roman 
Catholics. An elaborate Jury law, an amended Municipal law, a 
law establishing a more equal system of assessment, and an extended 
Joint Stock Companies' Act may also be enumerated among the 
practical measures relating to the western section of the Province. 
Parliament was prorogued by his Excellency on the 10th of 
August Some idea of the amount of business transacted during 
the session may be derived from the following facts. No fewer 
than 247 Bills were introduced into the two Houses 228 in the 
Assembly, and nineteen in the Upper House. Ninety-nine Bills 
were lost or dropped in the Assembly, and three in the Council ; 
and 145 received the royal assent Not one Bill passed during the 
session was vetoed or reserved by the Governor " a fact," remarked 
the chief ministerial organ, "unprecedented, we believe, in our 
political history, and showing the practical existence of Responsible 
Government" * In addition to the strictly legislative business, 739 
petitions were presented to the Assembly, and eighty-four select com- 
mittees were appointed, of which thirteen made no report, and the 

Globe, Tuedy, AoRurt 13th, 1850. 

218 ZVte Last Forty Years. 

remaining seventy-one made 106 reports. So that the Government 
were able to show definite results for the three months' labours of 
the session. 

Immediately after the prorogation Lord Elgin started on a tour 
to the western confines of the Province, and extending thence to 
the mining regions of the upper lakes. His reception, wherever 
he went, was of the most cordial nature, and his aptly eloquent 
responses to the numberless addresses which poured in upon him 
tended to increase his already wide popularity. Soon after his re- 
turn to the seat of Government he received a visit from Sir Edmund 
Head, who had examined him for a Merton Fellowship at Oxford 
seventeen years before, and was destined to succeed him as Governor- 
General of Canada. 

The close of the year 1850 was marked by the advent of a more 
prosperous condition of things than had been known in Canada since 
the Union. The commercial depression of the preceding two or 
three years had given way to a large measure of prosperity, which 
seemed all the greater by force of contrast. An early, genial 
spring had been followed by a delightful summer. The harvest 
had been unusually large in all parts of the Province, and had 
been garnered with scarcely any drawbacks from bad weather. 
Prices were good, and money was plentiful. It was noticeable that 
there was an increased demand for the comforts, and even for the 
luxuries of life, combined with the ability to procure and pay for 
them. Merchants remarked that their accounts were paid with 
unusual promptitude. The entire community seemed to be imbued 
with a feeling of confidence in the future. There was a consider- 
able immigration during the year of a class of persons whose settle- 
ment in the country was certain to be beneficial. The repeal of the 
strict navigation laws produced its legitimate effect, and an unpre- 
cedented number of foreign vessels entered Canadian ports during 
the season. Trade had widely extended its area, and business 

The First Step Towards Secularization. 219 

throughout the land was brisk. Enterprises which had been 
abandoned or deferred, in some instances from want of capital, and 
in others from want of confidence in the future, were now taken up 
with healthful energy. The canals did a flourishing business, and 
several railways were in course of construction. The Custom House 
returns furnished unmistakable indications of the improvement in 
trade. The net receipts for the year showed the remarkable increase 
of fifty per cent. The revenue derived from Public Works showed a 
corresponding increase. The manifold excitements of the preceding 
year had quieted down, and the annexation project was dead and 
buried. In October the first Provincial exhibition of agricultural 
and industrial products was held at Montreal, and though it was an 
insignificant affair as compared with the displays of more recent 
times, it tended to stimulate the agricultural and manufacturing 
community to renewed efforts, and was regarded as a decided 
success. Arrangements were made for the suitable representation 
of Canadian products at the World's Fair, to be held in Hyde Park, 
London, England, in the following year. It may here be added 
that these arrangements were successfully carried out, and that our 
country figured with credit at the Great Exhibition of 1851, several 
prizes and medals having been awarded to Canadian exhibitors. 

But while the commercial outlook was thus encouraging, there 
were evidences of much restlessness in the domestic politics. The 
acts of the Government were keenly scrutinized, alike by friend 
and foe. Certain appointments of Tories to offices of emolument 
were regarded by ministerial supporters with disfavour. Soon 
after the close of the session some of the ministerial organs in both 
sections of the Province began to assume a decidedly independent 
attitude towards the Government. The Globe, which had all along 
fought the ministerial battles with great firmness and vigour, and 
which had denounced the Clear Grits for their endeavours to break 
up the Reform party, began to take a critical stand. There was a 

220 The Last Forty Tears. 

manifest disposition to compel the Ministry to formulate a distinct 
policy more especially on the subject of the Clergy Reserves and 
to communicate it to the country.* As yet, however, there was no 
open rupture between the Globe and the Government, and the year 
passed away in tranquillity. During the latter days of December 
Mr. Merritt resigned his place as Commissioner of Public Works. 
His resignation was due, not to any quarrel with his colleagues, 
but to his peculiar views respecting the financial policy a policy 
which his colleagues regarded as wholly impracticable, and which 
they were consequently not disposed to adopt. He remained on 
the most friendly terms with the members of the Ministry, and 
continued to discharge the duties of his office for some weeks 
after his formal resignation. And so the curtain fell upon the not 
unattractive performance of 1850. 

"The party in power has no policy before the country. No one knows what measures 
are to be brought forward by the leaders. Each man fancies a policy for himself. The 
conductors of the public press must take ground on all the questions of the day, and each 
accordingly strikes out such a line as suits his own leanings, the palate of his readers, or 
what he deems for the good of the country. All sorts of vague schemes are thus flung on 
the sea of public opinion to agitate the waters, with the triple result of poisoning the 
public mind, producing unnecessary divisions, and committing sections of the party 
to views and principles which they might never have enunciated under a better 
system. The want of a clear decided policy has on several occasions placed the Min- 
istry apparently in positions which they never held. In all the fuss which has been created 
about retrenchment, we sincerely believe the parties most desirous to retrench were the 
Ministry, and yet they have appeared to be opposed to it. The cry has been all vague 
generality not a hint has been given as to details by the clamourers : and instead of lying 
off, as they have done, and pointing out the absurdities of their opponents, had Ministers 
come out at once, saying what they could do, and what they could not, and why not, 
they would have stopped the clamour which has been, we believe, falsely raised against 
them on this score." Globe, Tuesday, October 15th, 1850. 


* L* mlnistfcre pr&id< par MM. LafonUint et Baldwin oocnpe ami oontredlt U plo> 
bell* Apoque de notre hiitoirc. S actat ions la poor le d&nontrer. Soui l'agid de OM 
ohefi habilM, 1* Canada a fait on pat immcnie dani la role d rtformes administrative*, 
t Ten la proeperiU materielle." TUBOOTTI : Lt Canada Soui F Union; Denxieme Partie, 
pp. 177, 178. 

lARLY in the new year on the 12th of February Mr. 
Bourret succeeded to the Chief Commissionerahip of 
Public Works, and Mr. Merrill's withdrawal from the 
Ministry was complete. The new Commissioner retained 
the Presidency of the Council. The Hon. H. H. Killaly 
succeeded him as Assistant Commissioner, and a seat in the Cabinet 
thenceforward ceased to be a concomitant of that office. Her 
Majesty having assented to the Provincial Post Office Act of the 
preceding session, the office of Postmaster-General was made a min- 
isterial one, and on the 22nd of February the Hon. James Morris 
was appointed to the position. Mr. Morris had amassed consider- 
able wealth in commercial pursuits, and was an eminently practical 
man of business, greatly respected for his integrity and upright- 
ness of character. Of the eight gentlemen now composing the 
Administration four only had seats in the Assembly, the remaining 
four Messieurs Tach6, Leslie, Bourret and Morris being Legisla- 
tive Councillors. It was an open secret that Mr. Price, Commissioner 
of Crown Lands, had resolved to withdraw from public life at the 
expiration of the existing Parliament, which was soon to assemble 
for its last session. There were rumours also of other impending 

223 The Last Forty Tears. 

changes rumours which were fully verified before the close of the 
y ear &n & the opening of the session of 1851 was looked forward 
to with an unusual degree of interest. 

A bye-election of some importance took place during the spring. 
By the death of Mr. David Thompson, member for Haldimand, in 
the month of February, that constituency was left without a repre- 
sentative in the Assembly, and within a month thereafter no fewer 
than five candidates appeared in the field as aspirants to the Hfecant 
seat. One only Mr. Ranald McKinnon, of Caledoniacame out 
in the Conservative interest. The four Reform candidates were 
William Lyon Mackenzie, George Brown of the Toronto 'Globe, 
Jacob Turner and Horace Case. The campaign was conducted w.ith 
extraordinary vigour by all the candidates, but it soon became evi- 
dent that the contest would really lie between Mr. Mackenzie -and 
Mr. Brown. 

Mr. Brown has already been introduced to the reader with suffi- 
cient particularity.* As to Mr. Mackenzie, circumstances had com- 
bined to give him a notoriety and importance somewhat more than 
commensurate with his intellectual endowments, which, however, 
were considerably above the average. His life had been an event- 
ful one. He was born at Dundee, Forfarshire, Scotland, in 1795. 
Affliction seemed to be enamoured of his parts from his earliest 
infancy, for before he was a month old the death 6f his father left 
him to the sole charge of a widowed mother in very straitened 
circumstances. How he grew up from infancy to boyhood, and 
from boyhood to mature ago, it boots not to tell in detail. He was 
brought into frequent contact with the woes of poverty. From his 
mother he inherited a high degree of mental energy and impulsive- 
ness, which unfortunately, in his case, were not accompanied by 
anything like an equal share of prudence and judgment. Notwith- 
standing the disadvantages under which he laboured, he contrived 

Ante, Vol. I., pp. 362-3r,7. 

The End of the Great Ministry. 223 

to acquire what for one in his rank might be considered a good 
common education, which was improved in after life by much 
reading and study. He was for a short time a draper's apprentice, 
and was afterwards a clerk to a wood-merchant in Dundee. Having 
reached the age of nineteen, he embarked in a small mercantile 
business on his own account ; but the venture proved unsuccessful, 
and was abandoned. After a sojourn in England, he in 1820 crossed 
the Atlantic and made his way to Upper Canada. He for a short 
time found employment in connection with the survey of the 
Lachine Canal, but soon afterwards embarked in business, first 
at York, and afterwards at Dundas, where he married, and 
achieved a fair share of commercial prosperity. His restless 
disposition, however, impelled him to constant change. In 1823 
he removed to Queenston, and opened a general store. In 1824 
he founded a newspaper called The Colonial Advocate at Queens- 
ton, and thenceforward became in some sort a public character. 
Up to this time he had troubled himself very little about politics ; 
but as he never went into any enterprise in a half-hearted way, 
he now threw himself into this new pursuit with the aggressive 
energy characteristic of him. As a journalist he adopted the 
r6le of a public censor, and in the year 1824 there was no lack of 
subjects for legitimate animadversion in Upper Canada. He was 
a man of decidedly liberal convictions, and could not shut his eyes 
to the fact that many things in the body politic needed reforming. 
He assailed the Family Compact and their doings far more openly 
and mercilessly than Robert Gourlay had ever ventured to do. He 
was master of a direct and not ineffective literary style, and his 
paper obtained what in those days was considered a large circula- 
tion. Its fiery denunciations soon began to produce a visible effect 
upon the public mind. After publishing it at Queenston about six 
months, Mr. Mackenzie removed to York, where he carried on his 
enterprise with undiminished vigour. The oligarchy were fiercely 

224 The Last Forty Years. 

lashed, and the selfish greed of some of the officials was from time to 
time held up to public execration. A democratic atmosphere began 
to blow over the Province from end to end, and questions began to 
be asked which the shrewdest of the oligarchs found it exceedingly 
difficult to answer. Mr. Mackenzie doubtless fought the battle of 
Reform in those days with entire honesty of purpose, but the role he 
had assigned to himself was a most harassing one, and his aggres- 
sive, irritable temper did not tend to make it easier. He lacked 
discretion, and seldom calculated consequences beforehand. Never 
was there a man less fitted for the trade of a diplomatist. His 
mode of writing about persons in authority was always unconcilia- 
tory, and frequently abusive ; and he contrived to make himself 
the object of a hatred and contempt almost ferocious on the part of 
the faction which he assailed. Thus matters went on for some 
time. In June, 1826, his printing office was broken into by "a 
genteel mob," as it has been called, which was chiefly made up of 
persons more or less closely connected with the dominant faction in 
York. The office was wrecked, the face of the type was battered, 
and a portion of it thrown into the bay. The rioters were promptly 
proceeded against by Mr. Mackenzie, civilly as well as criminally. 
He received a considerable sum by way of damages, and before the 
close of the year the Advocate was again in full swing. The press- 
riot and the subsequent proceedings were the means of bringing his 
name very prominently before the public. A great deal of sym- 
pathy was felt and expressed for him as a sincere and zealous up- 
holder of popular rights. It was said, and with truth, that he had 
brought down upon his head the odium of the Compact by man- 
fully speaking up for the people. A decided impetus was given to 
his fortunes, and in 1828 the county of York returned him as one 
of its representatives in the Assembly. The oligarchy, which 
had long contemplated his increasing influence with anxiety, were 
moved to profound disgust by his elevation to legislative honours. 


The End of the Great Ministry. 225 

They at that time commanded a majority in the Assembly, and 
a series of persecutions were set on foot against him with a view to 
keeping him out of the House. Parliamentary proceedings were 
instituted against him for breach of privilege, for having at various 
times, and without authority, published in his newspaper more or 
less voluminous reports of the doings in the Legislature. An obso- 
lete rule of the House of Assembly sustained the letter of the 
prosecution, and Mr. Mackenzie was expelled. The electors of the 
county of York testified their disapproval of the expulsion by re- 
electing him. The same proceedings were gone through again, and 
were followed by a second expulsion. His constituency still stood 
faithful, and again reflected him. Thus was the farce kept up for 
several years, until Mr. Mackenzie had been elected and expelled 
five times. His popularity increased with every expulsion, for his 
cause was now identified in the public mind with that of the 
freedom of the press. It was evident to all that he was sub- 
jected to malignant persecution for no other reason than because 
he had exposed the shortcomings of persons in high places, and, in 
the language of that day, had refused to bow the knee to Baal. 
There was no pretence that in his capacity of a member of the 
Legislature he had done anything worthy of censure. The Assembly 
at last recognized the fact that it was useless to resort to further 
expulsions, for his constituency was evidently prepared to continue 
to return him to the end of the chapter. The only means whereby 
he could be kept out of the House was by refraining from issuing 
another writ for an election, and this arbitrary course was resorted 
to. The county of York was thus left with only one representative 
in the Assembly during a period of about three years. In 1832 Mr. 
Mackenzie repaired to England with the famous Petition of Griev- 
ances. He remained there more than a year, during which he was 
frequently received at the Colonial Office, where his representations 
on Canadian affairs were listened to with respect, and in several 

226 The Last .Forty Years. 

instances acted upon. Soon after his* return to Canada the town 
of York became the city of Toronto, au<d he was elected the first 
mayor. At the general election of 1834 he was returned to the 
Assembly for the Second Riding of York, tend was enabled to 
take his seat in spite of the machinations of ihis foes. In 1836 
Sir Francis Bond Head, the Lieu tenant-Governor, 'dissolved Parlia- 
ment, and a new election was held. The Executive resorted to 
most improper means to prevent the return of persons obnoxious 
to them, among whom Mr. Mackenzie occupied the foremost place. 
He was beaten, and felt that he had not been beaten 'fairly. Up 
to this time, though he had always been a cantankerous and 
somewhat impracticable man, there had never been any .grounds 
for impugning his loyalty. The machinations employed Against 
him, however, had thoroughly disgusted him. No need to tell 
the story of the rebellion here. Mr. Mackenzie's share in it has 
already been referred to,* as have also his long exile, his struggles 
to obtain a livelihood for himself and his family, and his subsequent 
return to Canada, after the passing of the Amnesty Act of 1849.^ 
In 1837, and for years after, he had been an ardent republican. 
A long and close contemplation of United States polity had abated} 
his ardour, and he had become, if not a zealous monarchist, at any 
rate an advocate of British institutions in preference to those of the. 
land wherein his exile had been passed. At the period at which 
the narrative has now arrived he was fifty-six years of age. Tho 
storms that had passed over his head had left their impress upon. 
him, by deepening the lines of his countenance and his character. 
He was conscious of misdirected energies, and serious errors of 
judgment. He was still, however, before all other things, an agita- 
tor. He retained much of the superabundant energy by which he 
had always been characterized, and was as ready to do battle for a 
chimera as for a well-settled conviction. 

Ante, Vol. I., p. 313. -Mnte, pp. 137, 138. 

The End of the Great Ministry. -J-J7 

Such was the man who presented himself to the electors of Haldi- 
mand as Mr. Brown's most formidable opponent The election came 
off during the third week in April. Mr. Brown offered himself as a 
member of the Reform party, differing in opinion on some points from 
the existing Government, but regarding that Government as by far 
the best that the country had ever had, and better than any other 
which could then be formed. He professed his determination to 
give them a general support. Mr. Mackenzie, on the other hand, 
offered himself as an independent candidate opposed to the Minis- 
try. The key-note of his election cry was : "Beware of Mr. Brown, 
the advocate of high salaries and pensions, and the apologist of the 
Court of Chancery, bound hand and foot to a political party!" 
Such ebullitions as this would probably have done Mr. Brown little 
or no harm ; but the latter gentleman's defeat was a foregone con- 
clusion from the beginning of the contest There were reasons which 
made Mr. Brown an unpopular candidate at that time in a con- 
stituency which, like that of Haldimand, contained a large Roman 
Catholic population. The Pope's bull creating a Papal hierarchy in 
Great Britain had been followed, towards the close of 1850, by the 
appointment of Cardinal Wiseman as Archbishop of Westminster. 
English Protestants regarded the action of the Vatican as pre- 
sumptuous and aggressive. Coming, as it did, in the wake of the 
Tractarian excitement, it aroused an indignant anti-popery feeling 
in England such as had not been exhibited there for more than a 
hundred years. This feeling was vividly reflected among the Pro- 
testant population of Canada. Mr. Brown had been bred a Presby- 
terian, and h* entertained the "No Popery" sentiments common 
among the adherents of that faith. On the 19th of December, 1850, 
he published in the Globe a copy of Cardinal Wiseman's famous 
manifesto, accompanied by a long and trenchant article written 
from a strictly Protestant point of view. The alarm having thu 
been sounded, the subject was taken up by the press of the country, 

228 The Last Forty Years. 

Catholic and Protestant, and an amount of irritation was expended 
altogether disproportionate to the occasion. Mr. Brown returned to 
the subject in the Globe again and again, and his cue was followed 
by a considerable section of the Protestant press of the Province. 
In this way he came to be regarded by the Roman Catholic 
population as the especial champion of Protestantism in Canada, 
and as the bitter opponent of their own most cherished doc- 
trines. This notoriety was made the most of by his opponents 
in Haldimand, and was doubtless the chief cause of his defeat. 
Mr. Mackenzie was returned at the head of the poll, and for 
seven years thereafter sat in the Assembly for the constituency. 
During the early months of 1851 various rumours were from time 
to time heard to the effect that a successor to Lord Elgin had been 
appointed, and that his Excellency's term of office as Governor of 
Canada was rapidly drawing to a close. Among the persons 
accredited as his successor were Lord Saltoun, Sir John Harvey 
and Sir Denis Le Marchant. In each case the rumour was easily 
attributable to a Tory source, and it may fairly be presumed that 
in each case the wish was father to the thought. As matter of 
fact, no such changes were in contemplation, and Lord Elgin's posi- 
tion at the Colonial Office was practically impregnable. As the 
months passed by, it was noticeable that the hostility of the Tory 
press to the Government a hostility which had become specially 
intense since the agitation consequent on the Rebellion Losses Bill 
began to perceptibly abate. A similar tendency was noticeable 
in the personal relations between leading public men of opposite 
political convictions. For this there were various reasons. A lull 
may confidently be expected after a furious storm, and the storm of 
1849 had been furious beyond precedent in Canadian annals since 
the days of the rebellion. The Tory party not only smarted under 
a sense of defeat, but felt conscious that their defeat had been ren- 
dered more crushing by their own imprudence. They had placed 

The End of the Great Ministry. 229 

themselves at a disadvantage with the Home Government, and had 
disgusted the more moderate of their own supporters in the Prov- 
ince. There were numerous defections from their ranks, and as a 
party they were much disorganized. Their fury had largely spent 
itself, and its consequences had recoiled upon them. They had 
become alive to the fact that public opinion would not sustain them 
in waging war d I'outrance on questions of minor importance. Such 
would appear to have been the factors which dictated the Tory 
policy of the year 1851. As has been seen, the Reform party was 
also disorganized. The Clear Grits had become more pronounced in 
their opposition to the Government than were the Tories them- 
selves. Mr. Brown was the leader of a small following opposed 
both to the Tories and the Clear Grits, and supported the Govern- 
ment in a very lukewarm and independent fashion. Under such 
auspices the fourth and last session of the Third Parliament met at 
Toronto on the 20th of May. 

Mr. Mackenzie's reappearance in the Canadian Parliamentary 
arena was an event in its way, and was referred to in England as 
evidence of the short memories of Canadians.* Another new mem- 
ber who deserves special mention was M. Luc Letelliar, known to 
us in comparatively recent days as Lieutenant-Governor of the 
Province of Quebec. He was then thirty-one years of age ; a notary 
by profession, and a Liberal in politics. He took his seat as mem- 
ber for Kamouraska, a constituency wherein the lines of party have 
from time immemorial been drawn with exceptional rigidity. 

The opening Speech referred to the era of prosperity which had 
set in, and, as usual, suggested the nature of some of the most 
important measures contemplated by the Government. The most 
noticeable feature of the early days of the session was the adoption 
by the Assembly, at a single sitting, and by a unanimous vote, of the 
Address in Reply. Sir Allan MaoNab prepared certain amendments 

Ste ColmM CleutUe lor July, 1851. 

230 The Last Forty Years. 

relating to the Clergy Reserves and the proposed increase in the 
Parliamentary representation ; but he contented himself with merely 
placing these amendments on the table, without moving them. The 
proximity of a general election, and the desire to avoid positively 
committing themselves on the burning questions of the time, may 
have had some influence in inducing the Tories to consent to the 
peaceful adoption of the Address; but as the session advanced it 
became more and more evident that party animosities had been to 
a great extent laid aside by the Tories, and that there was com- 
paratively little disposition to take up the time of the House merely 
for the purpose of embarrassing the Government. The only strong 
opposition which the Government were called upon to encounter 
emanated from William Lyon Mackenzie and the Clear Grits ; but 
this opposition, as will presently be seen, was destined to produce 
important consequences. 

The railway legislation of the session was of primary importance. 
The great activity in railway construction displayed in the neigh- 
bouring republic had begun to be distinctly reflected in this Prov- 
ince. Railway activity, indeed, had become a Provincial necessity. 
In former years it had been believed that the completion of the 
canal system would secure for Canada a large share of the trade of 
the Western States. Such a belief had been a reasonable deduction 
from the facts ; but the advent of the railway era wrought a com- 
plete revolution in the aspect of affairs. The construction of 
American railways bade fair to divert, not only the carrying-trade 
of the Western States, but even that of Western Canada, to Ameri- 
can lines. Such a diversion could only be prevented by the con- 
struction of Canadian railways. " Unless Canada could combine 
with her unrivalled inland navigation a railroad system connected 
therewith, and mutually sustaining each other, the whole of her 
large outlay must forever remain unproductive." * 

" Canada : 1849 to 1859," by the Hon. A. T. Gait ; p. 25. 

The End of tf* Great Ministry. 231 

Such were the facts which stared Canadian statesmen in the face 
at the period under consideration, and they were facts which did 
not admit of dispute. The railway epoch had reached its practical 
stage, and some of the leading capitalists were busying themselves 
in maturing important enterprises for the development of the 
country. The Government, ever since their accession to power, 
had been compelled to bestow much attention upon the subject It 
was during this session that Mr. Hincks's Act to make provision for 
the construction of a main trunk line from Quebec to the Western 
confines of the Province was passed. In undertaking such a gigantic 
enterprise it was not intended that Canada should depend entirely 
upon her own resources. Parliament contemplated offering such 
inducements as might attract the attention of capitalists, and legis- 
lation was framed with that end in view. Aid was also expected 
from the Home Government, in the shape of a guaranteed loan. 
Such aid had been promised to Nova Scotia for the construc- 
tion of a military line between Halifax and Quebec ; and it was 
now hoped that the scheme might be extended so as to apply to the 
line westward. In the event of this hope proving fallacious, the 
Province contemplated building the line on her own credit, with 
the assistance of the municipalities most directly interested in the 
enterprise, and of such private capitalists as might be induced to 
embark in it In case of the Imperial guarantee being granted, the 
Governor was authorized to make arrangements with the Govern- 
ments of Great Britain and the Maritime Provinces for the con- 
struction o.f the intercolonial road from Halifax to Quebec, and of 
the line thence westward to Hamilton. Authority was also con- 
ferred upon the Governor in Council to apply any or all ungranted 
lands, to the extent often miles on each side of the line, in further- 
ance of the work, which, it was confidently believed, would, when 
completed, give Canada a practical monopoly of the carrying-trade 
of the Great West The Canadian reader scarcely needs to be 

232 The Last Forty Years. 

informed that out of these projects were developed the lines sub- 
sequently known respectively as the Grand Trunk and Intercolonial. 
The rest of the legislation of the session must be very briefly 
disposed of. Acts were passed providing for the trial of Parlia- 
mentary Election Petitions; for the introduction of the decimal 
system into the Provincial currency; and for taking a periodical 
census. A measure prepared and introduced by Mr. Hincks made 
important changes in the territorial divisions of Upper Canada, for 
judicial, municipal and other purposes. Mr. Baldwin introduced 
and carried through an Act whereby a great change was made in 
the law regulating the descent of real property in cases of intestacy 
in Upper Canada. It abolished the doctrine of primogeniture as 
applied to real estate, and enacted that the lands of an intestate 
held in fee simple or for the life of another should descend to all 
his children equally ; females inheriting equally with males in the 
same degree. An equitable division was also provided for in case 
of there being no children or other lineal descendants. The plan of 
descent and inheritance introduced by this Act is based on the Civil 
Law, and bears a close analogy to the mode of succession to personal 
estate established under a statute passed in the reign of Charles II., 
and known as the Statute of Distributions. Mr. Lafontaine intro- 
duced for the third time his project for increasing the representation. 
The vote upon it stood 55 to 18, so that it was, as in 1849,* defeated by 
only one vote the required majority being two-thirds, or 56 out of 84. 
An Address to the Queen, proposed by Mr. Merritt, with a view to the 
convocation of an assembly of Provincial delegates to consider the 
project of a general confederation of all the British North American 
Provinces, was supported by only seven votes. The subject of the 
Seigniorial tenure came before the House too late in the session to 
admit of any decisive legislative action being taken upon it It 
had been referred to a select committee, with Mr. Drummond, 

Ante, p. 142, note. 

The End of the Great Ministry. 233 

Solicitor-General East, as chairman. The committee had not been 
able to make much progress. Their time had been occupied in 
attempts to define the rights of the seigniors, and the legislation 
outlined by them was objectionable to Mr. Lafontaine on the ground 
that it provided no real settlement of the question, and was in 
reality a measure of confiscation.* Legislative proceedings relative 
to the tenure were accordingly once more postponed. The Clergy 
Reserve question was similarly dealt with. A despatch from Earl 
Grey, announcing that Her Majesty's Government had been com- 
pelled to postpone to another session the introduction of a Bill 
authorizing the Canadian Legislature to deal with the matter, was 
communicated to the Assembly. That House passed an Address 
thanking Her Majesty for the gracious manner in which she had 
been pleased to receive the Address of the previous session; and 
there, for the time, the matter rested. An attempt was renewed by 
Mr. H. J. Boulton to bring about immediate Provincial legislation 
on the subject, but the reasons against the adoption of such a course 
were weightier than ever since the passing of the Address in 1850, 
whereby the question had been formally relegated to the hands of 
the Home Government. Mr. Boulton's attempt was a signal failure, 
the vote upon his proposal standing 52 to 5. Certain reports 
unfavourable to the Ministry, however, began to get abroad. Mr. 
Brown had gradually been drifting farther and farther away from 
the Government. He was conscious of having merited 'considera- 
tion at their hands by his services to them and to the Reform 
party, and he was dissatisfied because ministerial influence had not 
been actively exerted in his favour during his campaign in Haldi- 
mand. As matter of fact, the Government would have much 
preferred the election of Mr. Brown to that of Mr. Mackenzie, but 
the latter bad been put forward by old and influential Reformers 

On this subject se "The Seigniorial Question. It* Present Position.' By a Men. 
her of the Legislative Assembly from Upper Can*!* (Mr. Hincks) ; Quebec, 1854. 

234 The Last Forty Tears. 

in the county, and the Ministry had not deemed it expedient to 
interfere. Mr. Brown now assumed an attitude of open hostility 
to them, and criticized some of their acts and omissions with con- 
siderable vehemence. The Clergy Reserves question was one upon 
which he felt very strongly. He was eager for secularization, and 
opposed to any farther delay. His crusade against what he 
regarded as Roman Catholic aggression had made him very much 
disliked by the French Canadians, nearly all of whom professed the 
Roman Catholic faith. He was ready enough to retort this dislike, 
and it displeased him to see the Upper Canadian members of the 
Ministry acting in concert with those from the Lower section of 
the Province on questions of a quasi-religious character : such, for 
instance, as grants to denominational institutions, and the establish- 
ment of sectarian schools and colleges. In these opinions he was 
not altogether singular, although his personal following at that time 
was small, as he had no sentiment in common with the Clear Grits 
except a desire to see the Clergy Reserves secularized at once. But 
his opinions were given to the public through the medium of the 
Globe, and thus obtained wide circulation; so that even in some 
quarters where they did not find entire acceptance, they were 
more or less prejudicial to the Government. It was well known 
that Messieurs Lafontaine, Cauchon, Chauveau, and indeed most 
of the prominent French Canadians were not anxious to see 
the views of the ultra-secularists carried out. They were in 
favour of the repeal of the Imperial Act, and of an equitable 
settlement by the Canadian Legislature, but they had voted against 
one of Mr. Price's resolutions which affirmed that "no religious 
denomination can be held to have such vested interests in the 
revenue derived from the proceeds of the said Clergy Reserves as 
should prevent further legislation with reference to the disposal of 
them." The Globe now censured the Upper Canadian Ministers 
for assenting to the introduction of the Rebellion Losses Bill until 

The End of the Great Ministry. 235 

the French Canadian members had pledged themselves to support 
secularization. Here Mr. Brown's enthusiasm led him to indicate 
approval of a course which his own maturer judgment would 
doubtless have condemned. Such a proceeding as the one suggested 
by him would certainly not have commended itself to such men 
as Messieurs Lafontaine and Baldwin, and, as Sir Francis Hincks 
remarks, would have been justly characterized as log-rolling.* Mr. 
Brown's patience, however, was exhausted. He had, moreover, 
begun to suspect Ministers of double-dealing, and he even went so far 
as to express a suspicion that Lord Qrey had received a hint from 
the Provincial Cabinet that the latter were averse to prompt action 
in the matter of the Reserves. There does not seem to have been 
the slightest ground for such a suspicion.f All the well-known facts 
point to the conclusion that Earl Grey's postponement was entirely 
voluntary ; that is to say, that it was wholly unconnected with any 
suggestion to that effect from the Provincial Government. His 
only objects appear to have been to ensure the success of the pro- 
posed Bill, and to avoid stirring up fruitless opposition to the 
Administration of which he was a member. The Imperial Govern- 
ment were weak, more, especially in the Upper House, where, 
owing to the presence and influence of the bishops, the proposed 
Bill was certain to be a most unpopular measure. The Government, 
indeed, had actually been defeated and compelled to resign in the 
month of February, and had only been reinstated in consequence of 
the inability of both Lord Stanley and Lord Aberdeen to form a 
Ministry. Early in the following year (1852) the Government 
fell to pieces on the Local Militia Bill. Carrying on the business 
of the country under such difficulties as they encountered all through 

" The Political History of Canada," etc., by the Hon. Sir Francis Hindu ; p. OH 

f'Lord Elgin's reputation stands, I think, sufficiently high to shield him from the 
imputation of such a trick ; and Messieurs Lafontaine and Baldwin were not men to 
whom such practices were Imputed by those most In opposition to them." /&., p. 68. 

236 The Last Forty Years. 

the year 1851, it is not surprising that they should have postponed 
the introduction of a measure which would be certain to meet with 
strong opposition ; a measure, moreover, of which they did not 
themselves approve, and which they only undertook to introduce 
from a sense of what was due to the colonial constitution. 

The Provincial legislation of the session of 1851 consisted of 170 
Acts. A measure which did not receive the sanction of a majority, 
and which therefore did not become law, now requires to be men- 
tioned, because of its ulterior consequences, rather than from any 
special significance attaching to the measure itself. Reference has 
already been made to the Chancery Act of 1849, and to the reforms 
effected thereunder in the practice and management of the Court. 
That measure had been introduced and carried through under the 
auspices of Mr. Baldwin. It had been found to work well, and the 
Court of Chancery in Upper Canada had begun to be regarded as a 
court of equity in fact as well as in name. The Clear Grits, how- 
ever, as has been seen, had made the abolition of the Court a plank 
in their platform, and William Lyon Mackenzie, who had practically 
allied himself with the Clear Grits (though he still called himself 
an Independent), now brought forward a motion in accordance with 
their views. His proposition was that the Court of Chancery should 
be done away with, and that an enlarged equitable jurisdiction should 
be conferred upon the Courts of Common Law. The motion came 
on towards the end of June. It was voted down, but it received 
the support of a majority of the Upper Canadian members of Par- 
liament, many of whom belonged to the legal profession, and might 
be supposed to be specially capable of forming an intelligent opinion 
on such a question. Mr. Baldwin, who felt himself responsible for 
the Court of Chancery, as it then existed, took this vote very much 
to heart. The question was one affecting Upper Canada only, and 
the motion was defeated by the votes of the French Canadian mem- 
bers, who had no interest in the matter, and who merely voted 

The End of the Great Ministry. 237 

upou it at the bidding of their leader, Mr. Lafontaine. Mr. Bald- 
win was no stickler for the double-majority principle, but he felt 
that this was an exceptional question. If the Upper Canadian 
lawyers wanted to be rid of the Court of Chancery he was not dis- 
posed to force it upon them by virtue of a French Canadian 
majority. He regarded the Upper Canadian vote as indicative 
of non-confidence in himself, and so deep was his mortification 
that he resigned office. His announcement of his resignation 
was received in the Assembly with universal expressions of 
regret. Several gentlemen who had voted for Mr. Mackenzie's 
motion declared that they would not have done so had they 
supposed it would produce such a result Sir Allan MacNab 
and other Tories referred feelingly to Mr. Baldwin's great services 
to the country ; and by more than one he was asked to reconsider 
his determination. But he had fully made up his mind, and his 
decision was irrevocable. Mr. Hincks and the other Upper Canadian 
members of the Cabinet approved of Mr. Baldwin's resignation, and 
signified their own willingness to follow the example. Mr. Bald- 
win, however, in the interests of the Reform party, requested them 
not to do so, and they for the time remained in office. Mr. Lafon- 
taine passed a warm eulogy upon his retiring colleague, and 
announced that the latter would continue to act as Attorney- 
General until the appointment of his successor. Mr. Lafontaine 
also took the unusual step of announcing that he himself would 
retire from public life at or soon after the close of the session. 

The session was brought to a close on the 31st of August. Within 
a month afterwards Lord Elgin and many other influential Canadians 
visited Boston, and took part in the railway jubilee held in celebra- 
tion of the completing of several lines of communication. His 
Excellency made one of his characteristically apt and effective 
speeches on the occasion, and thereby produced a decided impres- 
sion even upon an audience familiar with the polished periods of 

238 The Last Forty Years. 

Edward Everett.* His Excellency's visit tended to place the 
good feeling which had been established between Great Britain and 
the States on a still firmer basis ; and for a time Her Majesty, to quote 
Lord Elgin himself, was " as much cheered and lauded in New Eng- 
land as in any part of Old England." f During the month of Octo- 
ber Mr. Lafontaine carried out his resolution, and retired from 
office. His colleagues followed his example, and the Great Ministry 
was no more. 

The Great Ministry. Yes ; for everything in this world is relative, 
and when the work of the second Lafontaine-Baldwin Ministry is 
fairly contrasted with that of other Canadian Ministries of its 
epoch, it must be acknowledged to have been great at least by com- 
parison. No Administration known to our history has ever effected 
so much during an equal space of time. None has contained so 
many men whose abilities entitled them to rank among colonial 
statesmen, as contradistinguished from mere politicians. It in- 
herited several cumbrous and most undesirable legacies, with 
some of which it was imperatively called upon to deal. It 
was consequently subjected to attacks which would have broken 
in pieces any Government which was not strong in a moral 
as well as in a political sense. Much of its legislation survives 
to the present day, and is a fitting monument to the justice, recti- 
tude and broad statesmanship of its members. There is no need to 
review in detail the various Acts which signalized its too brief 
reign ; the more important of them having already been enumerated 
and commented upon. The thorough reform of the municipal sys- 
tem, and of the election, education and assessment laws ; the estab- 
lishment of the Provincial credit abroad ; the obtaining of the 
control of the Provincial Post Office, and the establishment of cheap 

* Both Mr. Everett and Joseph Howe, of Halifax (the latter incomparably the greater 
natural orator of the two), were present at the celebration, and delivered eloquent addresses. 

t Walrond, p. 162. 

The End of the Great Ministry. 239 

and uniform rates of postage; the reform and remodelling of the 
courts of law in both sections of the Province ; the amendment of 
the exclusive charter of King's College, and the establishment of 
the University of Toronto on a non-sectarian basis ; the granting of 
a general amnesty for the misdeeds of 1837-'38; the abolition of 
the doctrine of primogeniture in Upper Canada as applied to real 
estate ; the inauguration of railway legislation these are a few 
among the many achievements for which the thanks of posterity are 
due to the Great Ministry which directed Canadian affairs from 
March, 1848, to October, 1851. With respect to the Clergy 
Reserves and the Seigniorial Tenure, only the first steps had 
been taken, and it remained for a Coalition Government to carry 
out, three years later, the schemes which two Reform Administra- 
tions had spent much time and labour in bringing to maturity. 

Mr. Lafontaine's retirement was due to a combination of circum- 
stances. He did not assign any definite grounds for his determina- 
tion, even to his colleagues, but his reasons are not difficult to 
arrive at. He was a man of refined and scholarly tastes, and had 
never been enthusiastically devoted to the ceaseless worry and tur- 
moil of public life. His Parliamentary career had, notwithstanding, 
been a brilliant and useful one, and he now had it in his power to 
retire with a spotless record and an honoured name. He enjoyed 
the respect of the entire Province, and he felt that he could not 
count upon being able to withdraw under equally favourable cir- 
cumstances at a future time. He saw that it would erelong be abso- 
lutely necessary for Parliament to deal with various questions as to 
which he was not fully in accord with public opinion. His respect 
for vested rights prevented him from sympathizing with the views 
of extremists with regard to the Seigniorial Tenure and the Clergy 
Reserves. Though he was a man of large and liberal mind, he was 
firm and unyielding in his views, and he well knew that he was grow- 
ing more Conservative year by year. He moreover felt that in the 

240 The Last Forty Tears. 

event of his remaining in the Government he would seriously feel the 
loss of Mr. Baldwin. Everything pointed to the same conclusion. His 
best policy was to retire while he was in the plenitude of his power, 
leaving it to other hands to gather the crop which he had helped to 
sow. Although, owing to his silence on the matter, the foregoing 
reasons cannot be set down as definitely-ascertained historical facts, 
yet their plausibility is such that they are at least worthy of being 
recorded as throwing light upon a passage in our history which is 
greatly misunderstood. 

Mr. Lafontaine's resignation produced as widespread a regret 
throughout his own section of the Province as that of Mr. Baldwin 
had produced in Upper Canada. He resumed, for a time, the active 
practice of his profession in Montreal. In the month of August, 
1853, he was appointed to the high office of Chief Justice of Lower 
Canada, which had been left vacant by the death of Sir James 
Stuart. In 1854 he was created a Baronet, contemporaneously with 
the conferring of a similar honour upon the Chief Justice of Upper 
Canada. He continued to sit on the bench as Chief Justice down 
to the period of his death, which took place at the city of Montreal 
on the 2Cth of February, 1864. He was confessedly one of the 
ablest jurists that ever sat on the Canadian bench, and his decisions 
are regarded with the highest respect by his successors. 

Mr. Baldwin, as has been said, felt very keenly the vote of the 
Upper Canadian lawyers in the Assembly ou Mr. Mackenzie's 
Chancery motion. Another mortification was in store for him. At 
the ensuing general election he offered himself as a candidate for 
his old constituency, the North Riding of York. The influences of 
the time were not propitious to him. The Clear Grits brought out 
a candidate in the person of Mr. Joseph Hartman, a gentleman 
then unknown in the political world. A cry was raised during 
the campaign that Mr. Baldwin was averse to secularizing the 
Clergy Reserves, and that he had surrendered himself to French 

The End of the Great Ministry. 241 

Canadian influence on the subject of representation by population. 
Pledges were demanded from him which he refused to give. " I am 
not here," he remarked, " to pledge myself on any question. I go 
to the House as a free man or not at all. I am here to declare to 
you my opinions. If you approve of my opinions, and elect me, I 
will carry them out in Parliament. If I should alter those opinions 
I will come back and surrender my trust, when you will have an 
opportunity of either reelecting me or choosing another candidate ; 
but I shall pledge myself at the bidding of no man." On the 
subject of an elective Legislative Council, moreover, Mr. Baldwin 
was not in sympathy witlt the popular feeling in his constituency. 
He believed in continuing the system of appointments by the 
Crown, as provided by the Act of Union, whereas popular sentiment 
favoured the election of Legislative Councillors by public vote. 
Upon the whole, Mr. Baldwin was too Conservative for the times, 
and the combined influences brought to bear against him were fatal 
to his candidature. Mr. Hartman was returned at the head of the 
poll, and Mr. Baldwin retired to private life, from which he never 
again emerged. 

Before taking a final leave of Mr. Baldwin, it seems desirable to 
correct a very general misapprehension which prevails as to his 
attitude on the Clergy Reserves question at the date of his resigna- 
tion. This misapprehension is due in great measure to a statement 
in Mr. MacMullen's history of Canada, a statement which has been 
adopted by subsequent writers who have not taken the trouble to 
investigate the matter for themselves. We are informed by Mr. 
MacMullen that "Mr. Lafontaine, Mr. Baldwin, and others of the 
older Reformers, opposed the revival of the agitation " -Le., on the 
subject of the Clergy Reserves " and maintained that things ought 
to be left as they were."* Now, this was certainly the attitude of 
the gentlemen referred to prior to the general election which resulted 

" Hiatory of Canulm," p. 514. 

242 The Last Forty Tears. 

in the formation of the second Lafontaine-Baldwin Government in 
1848; but it is very misleading, at least so far as regards Mr. 
Baldwin, when it implies that his views had undergone no change 
before his resignation in 1851. The impression is conveyed, indeed, 
that he resigned office in consequence of his unwillingness to inter- 
fere with the settlement under Lord Sydenham. That no member 
of the Government was unwilling to interfere with that settlement 
was rendered abundantly clear by the significant fact that every 
one of them voted for its repeal. Not only was Mr. Bald- 
win not averse to secularization, but he was actually desirous 
of seeing it brought about. He was a zealous Churchman, and, 
like Mr. Lafontaine, he had a great respect for vested rights, 
but he did not approve of perpetuating vested wrongs. Before 
the Union he had repeatedly expressed himself unfavourably 
to the exclusive claims of the Church of England. He was not 
opposed on principle to State endowments for religious purposes ; 
but he recognized the fact that such endowments were neither 
necessary nor desirable in Canada. He well knew that their con- 
tinuance was an injury to the Province, and he believed them to be 
an injury to the Church itself.* As has been seen.f he deprecated 
the revival of the question in Parliament during Mr. Sherwood's 
tenure of office as Solicitor-General. This, however, was clearly 
because the project of revival emanated from the Church of Eng- 
land, which, in his opinion, already enjoyed all the rights to which 
it could possibly substantiate a just claim, and he was apprehensive 
that the Church would not only reap no additional advantage from 
a renewal of the agitation, but would render itself more unpopular 
than ever among other denominations of Christians. His respect 
for vested interests prevented him from setting on foot any agita- 

* In an unpublished letter written to a friend in Toronto on the 4th of May, 1851, occurs 
the following significant sentence : "They [the Reserves] are an injury to the Church of 
Christ, and probably to the Church of England in Canada." 

U, p. 202. 

The End of tine Great Ministry. 243 

tion on the subject, even in later times ; but when it had once been 
set on foot by others, and when public opinion had made itself clear, 
he became fully alive to the injustice of allowing matters to remain 
as they were. His sense of right prevailed over every other con- 
sideration, and the Father of Responsible Government recognized 
the supremacy of the majority. The more he thought upon the 
subject the more did his mind expand, as may plainly be discerned 
from his utterances during the sessions of 1850 and 1851. He voted 
for Mr. Price's resolutions, and it was well understood by his col- 
leagues that he would vote for secularization when the proper time 
for doing so should arrive ; that is to say, when the repeal of the 
Imperial Act of 1840 should enable the Canadian Legislature to 
deal with the question.* But his constituents in North York would 
accept nothing less than a distinct pledge in 1851, and such a pledge 
he was not disposed to give. As to his resignation, in spite of all 
that has been said and written to the contrary, it was due, as above 
stated, to the vote on the Court of Chancery, and to no other cause 

Though he was only in his forty-eighth year at the time of his 
withdrawal from public life, hia constitution never very robust 
was considerably impaired by his close application to his minis- 
terial and Parliamentary duties, and he never again came con- 
spicuously before the world in any capacity. A seat on the 
judicial bench was in vain pressed upon his acceptance. In 1854 
he accepted the dignity of a Companionship of the Bath, which 
was the only reward he ever received for his long and important 
services to the colony and the Empire. He continued to reside on 
his estate of Spadina, in the immediate neighbourhood of Toronto, 
where he passed his time in the exercise of domestic and devotional 
duties during the few years of life which remained to him. He 

On thii subject, * Sir Francu Hinckt'i lecture on the Political HUtory of 
pp. fiO-52. 


The Last Forty Tears. 

lingered until the 9th of December, 1858, when he calmly passed 
to his rest. No Canadian statesman has left behind him a name 
more highly honoured by all classes of the community. To this 
day Canada points to Robert Baldwin as the man who spent him- 
self in contending, through evil report and good report, for a 
righteous principle; who rested not until the claims of truth and 
justice had been conceded and secured; who passed unscathed 
through the ordeal of a trying period in our political life, and who 
yet left behind him a reputation at which the finger of reproach 
has never dared to point. 


" Whatever else has been gained, it U clear thmt two dangers have been aToided by 
the Reform (tarty, by the formation of the new Ministry on the basis that ha* been 
adopted. The first was that the divisions which have existed in the party for the but two 
yean might continue through the elections ; with the certain result that neither action 
would have obtained a majority. The second and it would have been consequent on this 
was a coalition between the Tories and the Lower Canadians. "Toronto Examiner. 


l URINQ the three months immediately preceding the 
resignation of the Ministry, a chaotic state of affaire 
prevailed in political circles. The portfolio of Attorney- 
General West was practically vacant, for although Mr. 
Baldwin, according to the prevalent usage, nominally held 
office until the appointment of his successor, he had ceased to take 
part in the direction of the Government, and did not attend at 
Cabinet meetings. The duties pertaining to the leadership for 
Upper Canada devolved upon Mr Hincks, whose knowledge and 
Parliamentary experience well fitted him to discharge them. Mr. 
Lafontaine, in view of his own contemplated retirement, would not 
assign Mr. Baldwin's portfolio to any one else ; nor would he enter- 
tain any proposals on the subject of ministerial changes. Yet 
important ministerial changes were imminent, and could not be 
postponed beyond the time of Mr. Lafontaine 's resignation. Upon 
whom would devolve the task of forming a new Ministry, or of 
reconstructing that already in existence ? "It may be said with 
truth " remarks one of the most active participants * in the minis- 

Sir Francis Hinclu, in a review of "The Scot in British North America," published 
in The Canadian Spectator for December 3rd, 1881. Sir Francis adds : " I never had the 

246 The Last Forty Years. 

terial embarrassments of the period " that there was hardly a man 
of any influence, whether in or out of Parliament, who was not 
making forecasts of the future." The disunion in the Reform 
ranks was a serious matter, for it would be no easy task to make 
such an adjustment of the portfolios as should meet general approval, 
and a Tory Government, in the existing state of public opinion, was 
altogether out of the question. 

The problem, however, found its solution. No sooner had Mr. 
Lafontaine tendered his resignation, early in October, than the 
Governor-General who was then sojourning at Drummondville, 
near Niagara Falls sent for Mr. Hincks, and committed to his 
charge the formation of a new Administration. Mr. Hincks was 
probably the shrewdest and most energetic man then in public life 
in this Province. He had long foreseen that the party-lines of the 
Reformers would have to be laid down afresh, and on a less rigid 
basis than would have seemed good to Messieurs Lafontaine and 
Baldwin. From the date of his accession to the leadership for 
Upper Canada his policy had been one of concession : concession to 
the French Canadians, to the Clear Grits, and indeed to any party 
which had it in its power to obstruct the carrying-on of public 
business. Upon receiving the Governor's commands to form a 
Government he put himself in communication with Dr. Rolph, who, 
though he was not then in Parliament, was the ruling spirit of 
the Clear Grit party a party which it was absolutely necessary to 
conciliate. Mr. Lafontaine having retired from public life, Mr. 
Morin was by common consent the leader of the French Canadian 
Liberals ; and with him Mr. Hincks also held frequent conferences. 
The negotiations occupied several weeks, and were not finally com- 
pleted until nearly the end of October, by which time the offices of 
the Government, in pursuance of the alternating system which had 

leaat doubt that, in publicly announcing his intention to resign at a future time, Mr. 
Lafontaine acted contrary to all British precedent, and created a state of affairs that 
might have led even to more serious consequences." 

Hincka Morin. 247 

been adopted in 1849, had been removed to Quebec. The Governor- 
General himself had also removed thither, and taken up his quarters 
at Spenoerwood, a pleasant mansion which had been purchased by 
the Government for a gubernatorial residence, and which was situ- 
ated on the cliffs of Sillery, somewhat more than a mile westward 
from the city limits. 

On the 28th of the month the members of the new Ministry* 
received the seals of office at Quebec, and entered upon the duties of 
administration. The distribution of portfolios was as follows : 


The Hon. Francis Hincks, Premier and Inspector-General 

W. B. Richards, Attorney-General West 
" Malcolm Cameron, President of the Council 
" John Rolph, Commissioner of Crown 
" James Morris, Postmaster-General. 

All except Mr. Cameron, who was not actually iworn In until tome time afterward*. 
The delay wai occasioned by hit hesitation to accept the Presidency of the Council, an 
office ai to which he had preriontly expressed his opinion that the duties appertaining to 
it might well be discharged by some member holding one of the other Government offices, 
whereby the salary of a President would be saved to the country. The Globe and the 
Tory press taunted him with his inconsistency, and he probably felt that the impeach- 
ment was not altogether groundless. He seems, however, to have been open to convio- 
ti.-M on this subject probably in consequence of the office of Minister of Agriculture 
being created and conferred upon him, as subsequently mentioned in the text. 

Mr. Hincks does not seem to have contemplated the introduction of Mr. Cameron into 
the Ministry at all, until the claims of that gentleman, on party ground*, wen pressed 
u|~.n him by Dr. Rolph. The original intention was that Dr. Rolph should be President 
of the Council, and that Mr. J. 8. Macdonald should be Commissioner of Crown Lands. 
The Doctor's stipulations as to Mr. Cameron were a source of embarrassment t-> Mr. 
Us, as there was not another office at his disposal, until Mr. Macdonald's refusal to 
accept the portfolio offered to him opened a way out of the difficulty. It was not deemed 
]innlt>nt to make Mr. Cameron Commissioner of Crown Land*, which office was accord* 
v assigned to Dr. Rolph. It was then arranged that the bureau of Agriculture should 
be attached to the Presidency of the Council an arrangement subsequently carried out 
ami Mr. Cameron's scruples at accepting that office were got over. 

248 The Last Forty Tears. 


The Hon. A. N. Morin, Provincial Secretary. 

L. T. Drummond, Attorney -General East. 
John Young, Commissioner of Public Works. 
R. E. Caron, Speaker of the Legislative Council 
E. P. Tache, Receiver-General 

The reader is already familiar with the personality of each of these 
gentlemen. Messieurs Hincks, Tach6 and Morris were not re- 
appointed to office, their resignations not having been accepted. A 
fortnight later Mr. P. J. 0. Chauveau accepted the Solicitor-Gene- 
ralship for Lower Canada, and Mr. John Ross accepted the corres- 
ponding post for Upper Canada* Among various reforms to which 
the new Government stood committed were the secularization of the 
Clergy Reserves, the abolition of the Seigniorial Tenure, an inci'eased 
Parliamentary representation, and an elective Legislative Council. 
The last-named project was one that Mr. Morin had long had at 
heart, and Mr. Hincks, who does not appear to have felt strongly on 
the subject either one way or the other, yielded the point in return 
for Mr. Morin's consent that secularization should be made a Cabinet 

The new Government was unquestionably as strong a one as, 
under the circumstances, it was possible to form. Mr. Hincks's 
qualifications have just been referred to. Mr. Morin was, with the 
single exception of Mr. Lafontaine, who could no longer be taken 
into account, the most popular man in Lower Canada. He was 
respected and trusted by all, and his knowledge of the requirements 
of his compatriots was both profound and sympathetic. The only 
possible exception that could be taken to him was that he was some- 
what deficient in energy, and could seldom be aroused to put forth 

A seat in the Cabinet was not attached to these offices. 

Hincka Alorin. 249 

his utmost strength. Mr. Drummond, the new Attorney-General 
East, was one of the ablest of Canadian lawyers. Mr. Young, though 
he had had no experience of political life, was a man of strict integ- 
rity and great practical ability, possessing a wide knowledge of the 
country's needs. Messieurs Caron, Tache and Morris were all well 
fitted for their respective offices ; and Messieurs Rolph and Cameron 
brought much strength to the Government from their connection 
with the Clear Grit party,* which had become a recognized power 
in the land. With respect to Mr. Richards, the only remain- 
ing member of the Cabinet, it was objected to him in some 
quarters that his professional experience had not been such as 
to fit him for the high office of Attorney-General, but the legal 
profession generally admitted his fitness for the post, and his sub- 
sequent career, during his tenure of office and afterwards, has beei 
such as to fully justify Mr. Hincks's choice. The selection, how- 
ever, raised up for the Government a somewhat formidable opponent 
in the person of Mr. John Sandfield Macdonald, the ex-Solicitor- 
General West, who had confidently counted upon succeeding to the 
Attorney-Generalship, and who never quite forgave Mr. Hincks 
for passing him over. Mr. Hincks seems to have been fully 
cognizant of consequences when he selected Mr. Richards: conse- 
quences, it is to be presumed, which he would willingly have avoided ; 
but he occupied a most responsible and embarrassing position, and 
was compelled to discriminate between a multitude of conflicting 
interests. He offered Mr. Macdonald the Commissionership of 
Crown Lands, but that gentleman would accept nothing short of the 
Attorney-Generalship, and was accordingly left out of the Ministry 

Mr. Peter Perry, what* standing in the Clear Grit party had been at high ai that of 
either Dr. Kulph or Mr. Cameron, died on the 24th of August, about two months before 
the formation of the Hincks. Morin Cuveniwent. 

t Upon this subject it is only fair to let Mr. HincVs Ml his own story. In the review 
of ' ' The Scot in British North America," in The Canadian Sptelator for December 3rd. 

250 TJie Last Forty Years. 

The recognized organ of the Government in Upper Canada was 
TIte North American, which was still under the control of Mr. 
William McDougall. In the Lower Province the ministerial standard 
continued to be borne by The Pilot. 

There was one conspicuous individual in Upper Canada who had 
long distrusted Mr. Hincks, and who viewed that gentleman's in- 
creasing ascendency with much disfavour. This was Mr. Brown, of 
the Globe, who, as we have seen, had passed during the year from a 
lukewarm supporter of the Government to an active opponent. He 
published in his paper a series of letters addressed to Mr. Hincks, in 
which the latter's alleged shortcomings were animadverted upon 
with much asperity. The Inspector-General was charged with 
shirking the Clergy Reserves question, and with having betrayed 
the interests of Upper Canada by surrendering himself to French 

1881 already referred to in a note on page 245 we find the following account of the trans- 
action referred to in the text : " When I was called on to form a new Administration, 
Mr. Macdonald was clearly not entitled by any traditional usage to the post of Attorney- 
General, which he had never filled. I had but one colleague left from Upper Canada, the 
Hon. James Morris, a member of the Legislative Council. I had to find three new col- 
leagues and a Solicitor-General, and I had to exercise my judgment as to the departments 
which should be assigned to each. I recognized most fully Mr. Sandfield Macdonald's 
claims, but I had to determine how his abilities and those of others could be made most 
serviceable to our country. From the period of the Union, lawyers of much higher pro- 
fessional standing than Mr. Sandfield Macdonald had accepted offices unconnected with 
their profession. The Hon. R. B. Sullivan and the Hon. J. A. Macdonald had previously 
filled such offices, and many similar cases have occurred in later times. I had a grave 
responsibility, and I offered Mr. Sandfield Macdonald a >eat in the Cabinet next to Mr. 
Morris, to whom, as my only remaining colleague, I first applied. The office I proposed 
was the Commissionership of Crown Lands, which, in view of circumstances, I conceived 
was the office in which Mr. Macdonald could be most useful. Mr. Macdonald, in the 
exercise of his own judgment, said that he would have the Attorney-Generalship or nothing, 
and I was very reluctantly compelled to form my Government without him. That he was 
offended is certain, and that his subsequent election to the Speakership did not remove 
the sense of injury from his mind is likewise certain. There is no use now in discussing 
such matters. My object has been to place on record the fact that, being called on to 
form an Administration, I offered Mr. Sandfield Macdonald an important department, 
with precedence over all the new members of the Administration. I acted in strict accord- 
ance with precedent. The fact that Mr. Macdonald had been Solicitor-General under 
another Administration was no ground whatever for my selecting him as Attorney- 
fJeneral in mine." 

Hincks Aforin. 251 

Canadian influence. These letters were written by Mr. Brown 
himself, and bore his own signature. The first of them was pub- 
lished in the Globe of the llth of September, and the remainder 
appeared at intervals during the next few weeks. They were 
then collected and republi.shed as a pamphlet, which was used as 
a campaign document during the ensuing election contest. The 
influence of the Globe was exerted to the utmost to secure the 
defeat of the new Ministers and their supporters. The opposition 
then set on foot by Mr. Brown was persisted in by him so long aa 
the Hincks-Morin Administration remained in power. That his 
opposition should be more or less injurious to Mr. Hincks was 
inevitable, for the circulation and influence of the Globe were wide- 
spread; but its immediate effects were not very perceptible, and 
some time elapsed before it had the effect of either modifying or 
retarding the prosecution of the Government policy. Mr. Brown, 
on the other hand, incurred a serious responsibility as a party man 
by creating further disruption among the Reformers, who were 
already suffering from a want of concord among their leaders. So 
far as can now be ascertained, however, his motives were public and 
not personal. He was animated by a dislike of the French Cana- 
dian policy and institutions, and he had no confidence in the liberal 
professions of Mr. Hincks, whom he regarded as a man of expediency 
rather than of principle. An absurd allegation has time and 
again been repeated to the effect that his antagonism was due to 
his not being taken into the Ministry, and Mr. Hincks has been 
accused of want of judgment in forming his Cabinet without Mr. 
Brown. Who the originator of this extraordinary accusation may 
have been it is not easy to say ; but assuredly it was some one 
not very familiar with the state of political affairs in Canada 
during the period under consideration. There were two remark- 
ably good reasons for not asking Mr. Brown to join the Govern- 
ment. In the first place, it was well known that, owing to his 

252 The Last Forty Tears. 

opinions on various questions relating to Lower Canada, he would 
not accept a seat in it. This reason, of itself, would seem to be 
conclusive. But there was another equally so. Mr. Brown's senti- 
ments towards the French Canadians, and his stand on the Roman 
Catholic question, were matters of notoriety. His antipathy was 
fully returned. It was essential that Lower Canada should be 
fully represented in the Government by French Canadian members 
enjoying the confidence of the French Canadian electors. But no 
French Canadian member of the Assembly would have sat in the 
same Cabinet with Mr. Brown, and if any one of them had con- 
sented to do so he would have been execrated by public opinion in 
his section of the Province. Under such circumstances, how was it 
possible for Mr. Hincks to offer Mr. Brown a place in the Govern- 
ment, even if the latter had been desirous of accepting it ? The 
alliance with the French Canadian Liberals was regarded by the 
Upper Canada Ministers as too valuable to be severed, even though 
such severance should secure for the latter the cooperation of Mr. 

On the 6th of November the existing Parliament was dissolved. 
Writs were issued, and during the remainder of the year the 
country was in the throes of a general election. The result was 
the return of a considerable majority of supporters of the new 
Ministry. As regards the Ministers themselves, three Messieurs 
Caron, Tache 7 and Moms were members of the Legislative Conncil. 
The other seven were all returned by considerable majorities. Mr. 
Hincks had a double return, being elected both for the County 
of Oxford and Niagara Town. He eventually decided to sit for 
Oxford. Messieurs Drummond and Richards were respectively 
returned for Shefford and Leeds, the constituencies represented by 
them in the preceding Parliament. Mr. Morin was returned for 
Terrebonne, Mr. Young for Montreal City, Mr. Cameron for Huron, 
and Dr. Rolph for Norfolk. As regards the two Solicitors-General, 

Hincka Morin. 253 

Mr. Ross was a Legislative Councillor, and Mr. Chauveau was re- 
turned for his old constituency of Quebec County. Most of the 
distinguished men who had sat in the last Parliament were reelected, 
but among the exceptions were Mr. Baldwin (whose defeat in North 
York has already been recorded), Mr. Price, Mr. Notman, Mr. Cayley, 
Mr. J. H. Cameron and the two Sherwoods. Mr. Price, contrary to 
general expectation, recanted his determination to withdraw from 
public life, and offered himself for reelection in South York. His 
candidature was unsuccessful, his opponent, Mr. John W. Gamble, 
being returned in his stead. With this defeat, Mr. Price's active 
political career ended.* The ranks of the Conservative Opposition 
in the Upper Province were greatly thinned, and of those returned 
as Tories few belonged to the extreme school.f The only distin- 
guished ultra-Tory who found a seat was Sir Allan MacNab, who 
was reelected for Hamilton, and it was noticeable that even he pro- 
fessed more liberal opinions during the campaign than had ever 
before been heard from his lips. Mr. (John A.) Macdonald was 
reelected for Kingston, but that gentleman had already more than 
once displayed his impatience at the retrograde policy of his some- 
while leaders, and could no longer be regarded as holding precisely 
the same political opinions. In the Lower Province the tendency, 
as proved by the result of the elections, was rather the reverse of 
that in Upper Canada, and was in the direction of Conservatism. 
Several of the most conspicuous Rouges were defeated by candidates 
of more moderate opinions. Even Mr. Papineau himself sustained 
Iff oat in the city of Montreal, though he found a seat in the follow- 
ing July as representative of the county of Two Mountains, where 
a vacancy occurred in consequence of the death of Mr. W. H. Scott. 

A few yean later Mr. Price bade adieu to Canada, and repaired to England, whence 
he had emigrated to this country in 1828. He took up hit abode in the neighbourhood of 
Southampton, where he ha> ever since resided, and itill reside*, 

t " In fact, such a thing a> an out-and-out Tory b hardly to be found in a day's walk. 
. . Compact Toryism is dead and gone, never to be resuscitated." Olotx, December 

20th, 1*M. 

254 The Last Forty Years. 

The election as a whole was remarkable for the quantity of new 
blood it was the means of introducing into the Assembly, nearly half 
of the successful candidates being altogether new to Parliamentary 
life. In addition to those already mentioned, the most conspicuous 
new members were George Brown, returned for the county of 
Kent ; Jean Charles Chapais, for Kamouraska ; Ulric Joseph Tessier, 
for Portneuf ; and Louis Victor Sicotte for St. Hyacinthe. Mr. 
Brown's defeat by Mr. Mackenzie during the previous spring had 
therefore only postponed by a few months his entry into the Parlia- 
mentary arena. As has been intimated, he came out strongly in 
opposition to the Government. He was from the first a conspicuous 
figure in the Assembly, where we shall erelong encounter him. Mr. 
Chapais was at that time a merchant, and a resident of St. Denis. 
He came out in opposition to Mr. Letellier, the sitting member, who 
had been the successful candidate for the constituency in the pre- 
ceding February. On this occasion the same candidates took the 
field; but the former verdict was reversed, Mr. Chapais being 
returned at the head of the poll. He has since had a successful 
political career, and has sat in two different Administrations. He 
at the present time represents the De la Durantaye Division in the 
Senate of the Dominion. Mr. Tessier was an advocate, resident at 
Quebec, of which city he was then mayor. His election for Port- 
neuf in 1851 was the beginning of a political career of considerable 
distinction. He was independent in his opinions, and recorded his 
votes with small regard to purely party considerations. He now 
occupies an honoured position on the judicial bench in his native 
Province. Mr. Sicotte was also an advocate by profession. He 
resided, and still resides, at St. Hyacinthe, the county town of his 
constituency, where he possessed much local influence. In politics 
he was a Liberal. He was destined to remain many years in public 
life, and to hold important offices in several Administrations. He 
is at the present time a Judge of the Superior Court of Quebec. 

Hincka Morin. i!.'. 

The policy of the Government did not differ materially from that 
of the late one, except that it was somewhat more pronounced in its 
advocacy of reform, and that, as has been seen, it was committed to 
some questions upon which the previous Administration had been 
untrammelled. But purely political questions gave place, for a 
time, to those relating to the development and material progress of 
the country. Public attention was largely taken up with the 
various railway projects of the period. Early in January of the 
new year (1852) Mr. Hincks and two of his colleagues Messieurs 
Tacho and Young proceeded to the Maritime Provinces to attend 
a conference at Halifax on the subject of the proposed intercolonial 
line of railway. At Fredericton they were joined by the late Hon. 
Edward Barren Chandler, a member of the New Brunswick Cabinet 
The interests of Nova Scotia at the conference were chiefly repre- 
sented by the late Hon. Joseph Howe. After much discussion an 
agreement was arrived at that the projected intercolonial line should 
be built by the three Provinces, and that it should run through the 
valley of the St. John. Messieurs Hincks, Chandler and Howe 
were appointed delegates to proceed to England to obtain the con- 
sent of the Imperial Government to extend the promised guarantee * 
to this arrangement. Mr. Hincks and his colleagues returned to 
Canada well satisfied with the result of their mission. It had 
been arranged that the three delegates to England should meet at 
Halifax in the beginning of March, and that they should cross 
the Atlantic together. In pursuance of this understanding Mr. 
11 lucks repaired to the Nova Scotian capital at the beginning 
of that month, but upon his arrival there he was informed by 
M, -Mi-urs Chandler and Howe that they would be unable to 
sail until the lapse of another fortnight. Mr. Hinck.s neverthe- 
less sailed from Boston on the 4th, and in due course reached 

p. 231. 

256 The Last Forty Tears. 

London. Mr. Chandler kept his promise, and followed a fortnight 
later, but Mr. Howe again postponed his departure. Temporary 
ill-health and pressing political business at home probably had 
something to do with Mr. Howe's course of action, but its chief 
cause was doubtless to be found in the fact that the people of Nova 
Scotia did not approve of the line of the contemplated railway as 
settled at the recent conference. Mr. Howe had only been brought 
to consent to the route by the valley of the St. John with great 
reluctance, and \ipon an undertaking by New Brunswick to assume 
a portion of Nova Scotia's share of the debt. He seems to have 
regretted his consent after it had been given. At any rate he made 
up his mind, after repeated postponements, not to repair to London, 
and Messieurs Hincks and Chandler were thus left to carry out the 
negotiations without his assistance. 

Upon Mr. Hincks's arrival in England he found that a change of 
Government had taken place. The Earl of Derby had succeeded 
Lord John Russell as Premier, and Sir John S. Pakington (after- 
wards Lord Hampton) had succeeded Earl Grey as Colonial Secre- 
tary. With these distinguished persons Mr. Hincks and Mr. Chandler 
had an interview on the 30th of April. After the situation of affairs 
had been discussed, it was agreed to postpone the further considera- 
tion of the proposed guarantee until Nova Scotia's representative 
should appear on the scene. It came out very clearly during the 
interview, however, that the Imperial Government were not favour- 
able to the line by the valley of the St. John. They favoured a 
military line, such as had been recommended and surveyed several 
years previously by Major Robinson and Captain Henderson, of the 
Royal Engineers, and which was almost identical with the line 
eventually adopted. There is no need for going minutely into 
details. Mr. Howe, as has been seen, did not appear, and Messieurs 
Hincks and Chandler felt that they had been treated cavalierly. 
After an irritating delay it was found that the Imperial guarantee 

Hindu Morin. i'."7 

would not be extended to the route by the valley of the St. John, 
the only basis upon which the delegates were empowered to treat. 
The negotiations with the Government came to nothing, and the 
Provinces were left to the alternative of either building the road 
without Imperial aid or abandoning the project altogether. Now, 
Canada was much more vitally interested in the construction of 
the trunk line westward from Montreal than in the intercolonial 
one. Mr. Hincks accordingly, without waiting for a formal refusal 
on the part of the Imperial Ministry, entered upon arrangements 
with a number of wealthy English capitalists, who agreed to form 
a syndicate, and to build the desired line of road. The entire 
capital was to be raised in England, Canada guaranteeing half the 
cost, to be secured by a first mortgage on the road. The further 
particulars of the agreement belong rather to a history of the enter- 
prise itself than to a history of Canada. Suffice it to say that the 
outcome of the negotiations was the Grand Trunk Railway. Owing 
to the Crimean war and other unforeseen events, the cost of con- 
struction was very much greater than had been anticipated, and 
the road had to contend against keen competition, as well as various 
other disadvantages. For these reasons the enterprise has not been 
a financial success. The chief sufferers, however, have been English 
capitalists,* and Canada has derived inestimable advantages for her 
guarantee through the development of her territory, the facilities 
afforded for transport and travel, and the increased value of 

Another important subject engaged Mr. Hincks's attention during 
his absence in England. Reference has been made to the circum- 

" It U important to note that if Canada did not oonitruct her Trunk Railway without 
inv,,l\ inK i:n<lihmen (and women) in ruin, it wai became Englishmen would hare it so. 
over, the demand came from iuch a quarter, that to those familiar with the resource* 
of these 'operators,' it might have been extremely difficult for her to have gone into the 
money market on her own account, agint their opposition." Bifkty Ytari Fngrt* ef 
Untult North America, p. 199. nott. The latter sentence above quoted U irrefragable in 
point uf fact, though the grammar is susceptible of improvement 

238 The Last Forty Years. 

stances under which Lord John Russell's Ministry had seen fit to 
postpone the introduction of a Bill for the repeal of the Imperial 
Act of 1840 relating to the Clergy Reserves in Canada. That 
Ministry had now been supplanted by one of a very different politi- 
cal complexion, and there was good reason for apprehending that 
the project of repealing the Imperial Act would either be indefinitely 
delayed or altogether abandoned. Soon after the news of the change 
of Government reached Canada, a meeting of a Committee of the 
Executive Council was held, at which it was resolved that pressure 
of some kind should be brought to bear upon the new Ministry with 
reference to this vital question. After full deliberation a motion 
was passed recommending that "the Inspector-General, while in 
England, be requested to seek an interview with Her Majesty's 
Ministers, and represent to them the importance of carrying out the 
pledges of their predecessors on the subject of the Clergy Reserves, 
and thus empowering the Colonial Legislature to deal with the 
question in accordance with the well-understood wishes of the 
people of Canada." An extract from the report of the committee, 
embodying this recommendation, was duly forwarded to Mr. Hincks, 
who, immediately upon receipt of it, forwarded a copy to the Co- 
lonial Secretary, accompanied by a letter from himself strongly 
pressing the subject-matter upon the attention of Her Majesty's 
Government.* It was soon evident that the solicitude of the 

*" I have learned through the medium of the public journals, " wrote Mr. Hincks to 
Sir John Pakington, under date of May 3rd, "that Her Majesty's Government has 
determined to take no action in the question of the Clergy Reserves during the present 
session of Parliament. ... I can assure Her Majesty's Government . . that there 
will be no end to agitation in Canada if the attempt be made to settle this question per- 
manently according to the public opinion of England, instead of that of the Province 
itself ; and I may add that it is well known that many who are opponents of the seculariza- 
tion of the Clergy Reserves are on constitutional grounds in favour of a settlement by the 
Provincial Parliament. I believe that after the assurance given by the late Government 
it will be found impossible to protract very long the repeal of the Imperial Act ; and 1 
have no hesitation in affirming that no interests will suffer more by delay than those of 
the Church of England." See Religiotu Endowment} in Canada, a Chapter of Canadian 
lliitnry, pp. 76, 77. 

Ilinckt M<4n. 259 

Canadian Executive on the subject was not groundless, for on the 
22nd of April nearly a fortnight before their recommendation 
reached Mr. Hincks in England the Colonial Secretary had for- 
warded to Lord Elgin a despatch in which his Excellency was 
informed that " Her Majesty's present advisers " did not propose to 
introduce any measure during the current session empowering the 
Canadian Legislature to alter the existing arrangement with regard 
to the Clergy Reserves. One of the reasons assigned for this deter- 
mination was that a general election had only just taken place in 
Canada, and that it was as yet uncertain what view the new 
Assembly might take on the question. This suggestion was pro- 
bably derived from some of the numerous petitions which had been 
forwarded from Canada to the Imperial Parliament by Dr. Strachan 
and other opponents of secularization.* The tone of the entire 
despatch, however, showed plainly enough that the Imperial Gov- 
ernment would not easily be brought to consent to a repeal of the 
Act of 1840. "Her Majesty's Government," wrote the Secretary, 
" feel serious doubts how far they would be able to give their consent 
and support to an arrangement, the result of which would too 
probably be the diversion to other purposes of the only public fund, 
except that devoted to the endowment of the Roman Catholic 
Church, which now exists for the support of divine worship and 
religious instruction in the colony."-f It was further intimated that 
Her Majesty's Government would be willing to entertain a proposal 
for reconsidering the mode of distributing the income arising from 
the Clergy Reserves. When Mr. Hincks wrote to the Colonial 

" While, however, I admit the respectability of the petitioners, I think I un justified 
in affirming that they do not represent anything like a majority of the population of 
Canada ; indeed, the very fact that they on all occasions endeavour to aooomplUh their 
wi<h by appealing, not to their own representati ve in Parliament, hot to the Imperial 
Parliament, is conclunive proof that they are themselves conscious that their rtews are 
not in accordance with public opinion in Canada." See Letter of Mr. Hineks to Sir J. 8. 
Pakington, dated May 10th, 1S52, quoted in Alujiuui EitdutmunU in Canada, pp. 78 81 

t/o. i>. n. 

260 The Last Forty Tears. 

Secretaiy as abovementioned, he was unaware of the existence of 
this despatch, but a copy of it was forwarded to him from the 
Colonial Office immediately upon receipt of his letter. After read- 
ing the despatch, Mr. Hincks wrote a long and urgent letter to the 
Secretary, in which the state of public opinion in Canada was set 
forth with unmistakable clearness. The writer expressed " serious 
alarm " at the tone adopted, and did not hesitate to declare his 
opinion as to how it would be regarded by a majority of the 
Canadian population. He deplored the prospect of collision between 
the Imperial Government and the Canadian Parliament on a question 
regarding which such strong feelings prevailed. "The people of 
Canada," wrote Mr. Hincks, " are convinced that they are better 
judges than any parties in England can be of what measures will 
best conduce to the peace and welfare of the Province." With 
respect to the intimation that the Imperial Government would be 
willing to reconsider the method of distributing the income from the 
Reserves, the Inspector-General spoke with remarkable frankness. 
" I have no hesitation," said he, " in stating it as my conviction that 
the Canadian Parliament will not invite the legislation of the 
Imperial Parliament regarding the distribution of a local fund. 
Any such proposition would be received as one for the violation of 
the most sacred constitutional rights of the people." The foregoing 
statements and extracts ought effectually to dispose of the oft- 
repeated story that the Hincks-Morin Administration at any rate 
up to the period at which the narrative has arrived had manifested 
any disposition to shirk dealing with the Clergy Reserves question. 
Mr. Hincks's representations to the Colonial Secretary, however, 
were for the time inoperative. Even had the Government been 
converted by his reasoning, and disposed to act upon his suggestions 
both of which are rather extravagant suppositions the session 
of the Imperial Parliament was too far advanced to admit of the 
introduction of a Bill. The receipt of Mr. Hincks's appeal was duly 

Hincka Morin. 261 

acknowledged, and the correspondence came to a close. It was a 
foregone conclusion that the question should come before the Pro- 
vincial Parliament at the next session. 

During his stay in London Mr. Hincks took a step towards the 
settlement of the vexed question respecting the Upper Canadian 
rectories. He directed a case to be prepared for the opinion of two 
of the most eminent counsel at the equity bar as to the validity of 
the patents granted, as already mentioned, by Sir John Col borne in 
1836.* The opinion pronounced was that the acts done by Sir John 
for the endowment of the rectories in question were beyond his 
authority ; that they were not sustainable by the instructions given 
to any preceding Governor ; and that they were therefore inoperative 
and void. It was suggested that the question should be brought 
before the Canadian Courts in the form of an information to be 
filed by the Attorney-General. The subsequent history of the 
matter may as well be here disposed of. The course suggested was 
adopted, and a Bill was filed by the Attorney-General in the Court 
of Chancery for Upper Canada, at the instance of the Legislative 
Assembly, en the 25th of August, 1852, for the purpose of testing 
the validity of " certain letters patent granted by Sir John Colborne, 
bearing date the 15th of January, 1836, and purporting to constitute 
a rectory within the township of York, to be known as the rectory 
of St. James, and to set apart eight hundred acres of the Clergy 
Reserve lands as an endowment for said rectory, to be held and 
enjoyed forever as appurtenant thereto." Considerable delay occur- 
red before the case came on for hearing, and it was not finally 
disposed of until 1856, when the Court, after hearing able arguments 
by eminent counsel, decided that Sir John Colborne had full autho- 
rity to create and endow rectories, and the validity of the patents 
granted by him was fully affirmed. The decision of the three 

Antt, p. 199. 

262 The Last Forty Tears. 

judges * of the Court was unanimous, and the rectory question 
was thus finally set at rest. 

The Inspector-General returned to Canada during the early sum- 
mer of 1852, and thenceforward until the opening of the session 
the Government were busy preparing measures for submission to 

On the 19th of August the first session of the Fourth Parliament 
met at Quebec. Upon motion of Mr. Hincks, seconded by Mr. 
Morin, Mr. John Sandfield Macdonald was elected Speaker of the 
Assembly by a vote of 55 to 23. The Speech from the Throne was 
delivered on the 20th. It alluded to the steady rise in value of 
Provincial securities, and to the satisfactory evidence furnished 
by the recent census as to the the advancement of the colony 
in wealth and population. Reference was also made to the rail- 
way projects of the time; to a contemplated measure for intro- 
ducing the decimal system into the Provincial currency ; to the 
importance of establishing steam communication between Great 
Britain and Canadian ports ; and to the proposed addition to the 
representation. The Colonial Secretary's despatch, stating the 
grounds upon which the Imperial Government had refrained from 
introducing a bill authorizing the Canadian Legislature to deal with 
the Clergy Reserves, was also referred to ; and it was announced 
that the subject of the Seigniorial Tenure would probably engage 
the attention of Parliament during the session. The Conservatives 
offered no factious opposition, and for a time it seemed as though 
the Address in Reply would pass with very little debate. Messieurs 
Hincks and Morin gave the Assembly some account of the forma- 
tion of their Government, and outlined the ministerial policy that 
had been determined upon, which, as has been seen, was one of 

* See The Attorney-Oeneral vs. Oratett, 5 Grant's U. C. Chancery Reports, 412. It will 
be noted that this decision was adverse to the opinion pronounced by the eminent English 
counsel referred to in the text. It is to be presumed that the latter, at the time of pro- 
nouncing their opinion, had not all the facts before them. 

Hincka Morin. 2fi3 

advanced reform. Then it became apparent that the Government 
would have to encounter a vigorous opposition from some Liberal 
members. The most pronounced attack was made by Mr. George 
Brown, who, in a speech of more than two hours' duration, gave a 
foretaste of the vigorous, slashing style of Parliamentary oratory for 
which he afterwards became famous. He complained of the want 
of satisfactory explanations on the part of Ministers as to the 
principles and intentions of the Administration, and drew a sketch 
of the position of parties since the Union, showing the difficulties 
that had arisen in the Reform ranks, and the rise of an ultra party. 
He read extracts from the journals and public documents illus- 
trative of the opposing views of the two sections, and proving that 
at the commencement of 1851 they had been utterly opposed to each 
other on every great question before the country. He denied that 
the country had gained anything by the coalition. After assailing 
the ministerial policy on the railway and other questions, he an- 
nounced that in spite of these things he should vote for the Address. 
To vote against it, he remarked, would be to manifest a desire to see 
the Ministry out of office, and for that he was not yet prepared. 
Until their measures were fully developed, he could not determine 
whether it would be the least evil to have them or the Tories in 
power. He certainly did think it would be better to have a Tory 
Government than one with a Reform name carrying Tory measures. 
He concluded by passing a warm eulogium on the constitutional 
course which his Excellency had pursued in Canada. Such was the 
tenor of Mr. Brown's first conspicuous Parliamentary utterance. It 
was essentially the speech of an agitator, whose main strength lies 
in opposition ; and the speaker was thenceforward one of the most 
marked men in the Assembly.* 

* A cormpondent of Tkr BritM Colonut (Toronto), writing from the test of Govern- 
ment under ilate of August 'J*th . thu characterize thil maiden Parliamentary effort : " M r . 
,-e Hrown made hi* tint let fpeech but night. He tpoke for about two boon, and 
made a terrible onalaught upon the Government. He produced a actuation in the HODW, 

264 The Last Forty Tears. 

Mr. Papineau also attacked the Ministry and the existing consti- 
tutional system with great bitterness. He declared himself in favour 
of annexation, an elective Legislative Council, and vote by ballot. 
Beyond all comparison the most able speech from the Conservative 
side was made by Mr. John A. Macdonald, who expressed his dis- 
satisfaction at the insufficiency of the ministerial explanations, and 
declared his conviction that there was no principle in common 
among the members of the Administration, except the desire to hold 

The Address finally passed on the 31st, most of the paragraphs 
being unanimously assented to, and the remainder being adopted by 
varying but considerable majorities. For more than two months 
thereafter the business of the session was carried on with energy and 
vigour, and some enactments of importance were added to the 
statute book. Conspicuous among the latter were an Act authoriz- 
ing the Governor to establish a Bureau and Minister of Agriculture ; 
an Act for the establishment of a Transatlantic line of steam vessels ; 
an Act to incorporate the Grand Trunk Railway ; and an Act to 
establish a Consolidated Municipal Loan Fund for Upper Canada. 
The first-named measure denned the duties of the Minister of Agri- 
culture, which included the encouragement of immigration, and the 
establishment of model farms with a view to the promotion of 
agriculture, and the collecting, disseminating and publishing of 
statistics relating to agricultural matters generally throughout the 
Province. By the Act relating to Transatlantic steamers, which had 
been hinted at in the opening Speech, the sum of 19,000 sterling 
per annum was appropriated for the purpose of establishing a line of 

and consternation upon the Treasury benches. He has succeeded in making himself th 
common topic of conversation in this city to-day ; and he bids fair to take the wind out 
of the sails of his old friend Mr. liincks. His manner was certainly Tery far from being 
legant or graceful, and of his language the same remark might be made ; but he had 
industriously collected a number of telling facts against the Ministry, and he fired them 
off one after another, incessantly, for two hours, with telling force." 

Hirtcks Morin. 265 

steam vessels between Canada and Great Britain, to run once every 
fortnight each way between Liverpool and Quebec and Montreal 
during such time in each year as navigation should be open in the 
St. Lawrence, and to run once every month each way between 
Liverpool and Halifax or Portland during the rest of the year.* 
The session was very prolific of railway legislation, and the Grand 
Trunk was only one of many companies which received charters of 
incorporation. The Municipal Loan Fund Act was a measure 
enabling municipalities to borrow money on the credit of the Pro- 
vince for local improvements. It assisted materially in the develop- 
ment of the country, but it was taken undue advantage of by some 
municipalities, and led to a good deal of extravagant outlay. -f 

A conspicuous incident of the early part of the session was the 
introduction into the Assembly by Mr. Hincks, on the 14th of 
(September, of a series of resolutions on the subject of the Clergy 
Reserves. These resolutions, while expressing devoted attach- 
ment to Her Majesty's person and Government, claimed that the 
question was one "so exclusively affecting the people of Canada 
that its decision ought not to be withdrawn from the Provincial 
Legislature." J The widespread dissatisfaction which must ensue 
from the refusal of the Imperial Parliament to comply with the just 
demand of the Canadians was referred to, and a hope was expressed 

The contract for establishing the line wa. obtained by Messrs. McKean, McLarty & 
Co., of Liverpool, and the steamers began to ran during the following spring. Two yean 
later the contract was annulled, and an arrangement was made with the firm of Mews. 
K.lin.nirtone, Allan & Co., of Montreal. The small fleet of the last-named company ha* 
since developed into the well-known Allan line of Transatlantic steamships. 

f " It will thus be seen that the legislation of the sewion of 1892 laid the foundation of 
a large addition to the liabilities of this country, and paved the way for the annual deficit 
which subsequently existed in the Provincial revenue for so many years." MacMullen's 
tfiXory of Canada, p. 519. 

{These are the iptittinw verb* of Earl Grey's despatch to Lord Elgin of the 7th of 
January, 1S.M. See antt, p. 21X The case could not well have been admitted more clearly 
on behalf of the Imperial Government. 


266 The Last Forty Years. 

that Her Majesty's Ministers would consent to give effect to the 
promise made by their predecessors. The debate on these resolu- 
tions lasted four days, and was participated in by nearly every 
leading member of the House. Mr. Brown made a long and vigor- 
ous speech on the subject, in which he attacked the Ministry because, 
although they had tried to obtain power to deal with the subject, 
they had not committed themselves to any definite policy in the 
event of such power being committed to their hands by the Imperial 
Parliament. Before the debate closed, Mr. Morin pledged himself 
unequivocally to secularization. Mr. Hincks had already done so, 
and there could no longer be any doubt that the Ministry were 
formally committed to that step. The resolutions passed by a 
majority of 54 to 22. An Address to the Queen founded upon 
them was prepared and forwarded across the Atlantic, which cir- 
cumstance marks another step towards the solution of the great 

On the 23rd of October three additions were made to the Legis- 
lative Council, in the persons of Narcisse Fortunat Belleau, Charles 
Wilson (Mayor of Montreal), and Louis Panet. Mr. Belleau had 
a long and dignified public career before him, and we shall meet 
him more than once in the subsequent course of the narrative. He 
was a member of the Lower Canadian bar, and resided at Quebec, 
where he had long been active in the City Council, and identified 
with various public enterprises. 

By the beginning of November it had come to be known that 
there was to be an adjournment of the session for several months, 
and on the 10th the adjournment actually took place. The Acts 
passed during this first part of the session received the royal 
assent at the same date, and the Bureau of Agriculture having 
thus become an established fact, Mr. Cameron was duly installed as 
the head of that department. It may here be mentioned that from 
that date down to the 20th of March, 1862, the Presidents of the 
Executive Council were ex-ojficio Ministers of Agriculture. 

Hindu Morin. 2C7 

The principal reason assigned for the adjournment was the exist- 
ence of cholera in Quebec. That this may really have had some- 
thing to do with the matter is probable enough, but the fact was 
that the Government had had so many matters of detail on their 
hands that they were not ready with some important measures which 
it was essential that they should submit to the House, and they 
were desirous of gaining time. The resignation of Mr. Young, 
moreover, which took place on the 20th of September, caused some 
temporary embarrassment to the Government. Mr. Young's demis- 
sion of office was due to the ministerial determination to impose differ- 
ential duties against United States vessels using the Canadian canals. 
Mr. Young, as we have seen,* was an out-and-out free-trader, and 
could not reconcile his mind to remaining in a Cabinet which 
sanctioned a commercial policy with which he had no sympathy. 
He also objected to Mr. Hincks's scheme of constructing the Grand 
Trunk Railway by means of a private company. Mr. Young was 
a man of undoubted ability, as well as of unquestioned integrity, 
though he had certain visionary crotchets which interfered to some 
extent with his usefulness as a Cabinet Minister. Upon his resig- 
nation his portfolio of Commissioner of Public Works was offered 
to Mr. George E. Cartier, who, however, did not think proper to 
accept it. It was then offered to and accepted by Mr. Chabot, who 
had held the saiuo portfolio in the preceding Administration. It 
may be added that the ministerial proposal to establish the differ- 
ential duties proved so unpopular throughout the country that it 
was abandoned. 

The adjournment was until the 14th of February, 1853. An 
intervening event to which it is necessary to refer was the accession 
to power of a new Ministry in England during the month of 
December. At the end of an important budget debate, which was 
prolonged through four sittings of the House, the Ministry were 

A*tt, Vol. I., pp. 215,216. 

268 TJie Last Forty Years. 

left in a minority of nineteen. This event was followed by their 
resignation, and by the formation of a Coalition Ministry, with the 
Earl of Aberdeen as Premier and the Duke of Newcastle as Colonial 
Secretary. One of the last official acts of the ex-Secretary, Sir 
John Pakington, was the preparation of a draft despatch to Lord 
Elgin, in reference to the Address which had been forwarded to 
the Queen from the Canadian Assembly, as above mentioned. 
Owing to Sir John's demission of office the despatch was never 
forwarded, but it was at his own request laid before Parliament. 
Having thus obtained publicity, its contents were erelong known in 
Canada. It was to the effect that Her Majesty's Government felt 
themselves unable to comply with the wish of the Assembly by 
committing the Reserves to their charge. All intention of violating 
the constitutional rights of the Canadian Parliament was explicitly 
disclaimed, but an opinion was expressed that the repeal of the 
Imperial Act involved interests which excepted it from the general 
rule.* This was discouraging enough, and a few excitable persons 
would doubtless erelong have begun to inveigh against the " bane- 
ful domination " to which the colony was subjected by the mother 
country. Fortunately, however, the same mail which brought the 
contents of the draft despatch across the Atlantic brought intelli- 
gence of the change of Government. Yet a few weeks, and it 
became known in Canada that the new Ministry had determined 
to reverse the policy of their predecessors on the Clergy Reserves 
question, and to recommend the passing of an Act authorizing 
the Provincial Legislature to deal with it, subject to the preser- 
vation of existing interests. A despatch announcing this decision 

* The Imperial Government would in any case have been compelled to face this ques- 
tion early in 1853. On the 3rd of December, 1852, Sir William Molesworth gave notice 
that immediately after the Christinas recess he would move for leave to brinp in a Bill to 
enable the Canadian Legislature to deal with the Clergy Reserves. The change of 
Government, and the different policy pursued by the incoming one, rendered it unnecessary 
for Sir William to proceed with his motion. 

Hincka Morin. -2 . D 

was forwarded to Lord Elgin by the new Colonial Secretary on 
the 15th of January, 1853. It was first made public when Par- 
liament reassembled in February. When the news became known 
throughout the Province there was much jubilation on the part 
of a great majority of the Upper Canadians, accompanied by a 
corresponding amount of chagrin on the part of those favourable to 
preserving the then-existing state of things. 

The last address which had been passed by the Canadian Assem- 
bly and forwarded to England was, as has been seen, conceived in a 
very urgent tone, and could scarcely fail to produce some effect 
there. The resolution at which the new Imperial Ministry had 
arrived was doubtless largely due to it. The Canadian Opposition, 
however, were not disposed to give Mr. Hincks's Government any 
credit on this score. Mr. Brown's opposition was especially vigilant 
and unceasing, and with such a formidable engine at his back as 
The Globe had by this time become, he was able to cause the Gov- 
ernment much uneasiness, and even frequent discomfiture. The 
reasons why Mr. Brown originally went into opposition have already 
been referred to.* A not uncommon opinion prevails in Canada to 
the present day that he was also animated by personal enmity 
towards Mr. Hiiicks. The present writer has not been able to dis- 
cover any traces of such enmity, nor does he believe that it ever 
existed. There was unquestionably a very pronounced antagonism 
between Mr. Brown and Mr. Hincks during the whole period of the 
latter gentleman's tenure of office as Premier, but it seems to have 
been one of circumstance rather than of temperament, and to have 
been exercised on public grounds alone. Mr. Brown was vehemently 
opposed to every measure of concession to Roman Catholics. The 
existing Administration was largely made up of Roman Catholic 
members, and those members who were Protestants were remark- 
ably tolerant in their opinions, and disposed to a policy of concilia- 

Ante, p. 234. 

270 Tlte Last Forty Years. 

tion. An Administration so constituted could not hope to receive 
much favour at the hands of Mr. Brown. It is certain, however, that 
that gentleman's antagonism grew by what it fed upon, and that it 
became steadily intensified so long as Mr. Hincks remained in office. 
Mr. Brown's opposition, indeed, was the prime factor which was 
destined to bring about the defeat of the Government.* During 
the recess intervening between the two divisions of the session of 
1852-'53, he appeared at public gatherings in various parts of Upper 
Canada, and inveighed against the existing regime with all the 
vigorous eloquence at his command. 

Parliament reassembled, pursuant to adjournment, on the 14th of 
February (1853). There was no parade or other display at the 
opening, it being merely a reassembling of an adjourned session, and 
not a new one. The Duke of Newcastle's despatch was formally 
announced to and laid before the Assembly on the day following. 
The members, as usual in such cases, stood up in their places while 
the reading was proceeded with, and at the close there were long 
and emphatic demonstrations of applause. In spite of the efforts of 
the Opposition to make little of the circumstance, there was a 
general feeling throughout the land that the Government were 
entitled to credit for the result of Mr. Hincks's resolutions of the 
preceding September. The ensuing part of the session extended 
over four months. It was fruitful of an altogether exceptional 

Mr. Hincks, addressing the Assembly on the 8th of September, 1854, practically 
admitted this fact. "The Administration," said he, "was opposed at the outset by 
tlie honourable member for Lambton" Mr. Brown "and in adverting to him I 
mast do him the justice to say that there is one thing I like about him, and it is that 
be has always been straightforward in his opposition. There is no misunderstanding 
Am, at all events. He took his course ; he was determined to destroy the Government. 
I wish not to disparage my opponents. I wish to believe that the course they take is the 
one which they consider best calculated to promote the interests of the country. I am 
grilling to give the honourable member for Lambton the same credit which I trust he 
would accord to me. I am willing to believe that he thought he would promote the best 
interests of the country by obstructing the progress of the Administration. He at all 
iiU took that course at the beginning, and has persevered in it ever since." 

HvnckaMorin. 271 

amount of legislation, including nearly 200 Acts, whereof no 
fewer than 28 related to railways. The railway mania was at its 
height, and the wildest schemes were projected, in many cases, 
apparently, in the utmost good faith. A number of educational 
institutions also applied for and obtained Acts of incorporation. A 
measure for regulating the currency was passed, whereby the deci- 
mal system was introduced, and the legai denominations and values 
of current money were ascertained. Another Act extended the 
franchise, and provided a system of registration of voters. An Act 
introduced by Mr. Brown abolished the existing penalties for usury. 
An animated debate ensued upon the introduction by Mr. Drummond 
of a Government measure relating to the Seigniorial Tenure. It pro- 
posed to reduce such of the rents as were held to be exorbitant, and 
to obtain judicial decisions as to their legality. In the case of such 
rents as were adjudged to be legal, compensation to the seignior for 
any excess over two pence per acre was provided for, and two pence 
was to be the maximum rent for the future. Where the rents were 
a<ljudged to be illegal the seignior was to submit to the reduction 
without compensation. Mr. Christopher I Mink In, an able Montreal 
lawyer who was destined to become widely known in political life, 
appeared at the bar of the House, and occupied two entire evenings in 
presenting the question from the seignior's point of view. His argu- 
ment displayed great erudition, and was very effectively delivered. 
He was replied to by Mr. Drummond, and the subject was fully 
discussed. The measure was finally passed by the Assembly, but 
rejected in the Legislative Council. The action of the Upper 
House at this time tended to increase the agitation on the subject 
of applying the elective principle to that body ; an agitation which 
had been set on foot several years before, and which was now 
intensified to such an extent that an Address was passed by the 
mbly and duly forwarded to England, praying that authority 
might be given to the Canadian Legislature to deal with the ques- 
tion. The agitation, as will hereafter be seen, was erelong successful. 

272 Tke Last Forty Years. 

A measure providing for an increased representation had once 
more been presented to the Assembly during the first part of the 
session in the preceding year, but the adjournment had prevented 
it from being proceeded with. Its consideration was now resumed. 
Mr. Morin was its sponsor, and upon him chiefly devolved the 
task of explaining its provisions. There was a vigorous opposition 
to some of its details on the part of Messrs. George Brown, John 
A. Macdonald, Sir Allan MacNab, W. L. Mackenzie, and others, 
but, after having been defeated at three consecutive sessions, it 
was now conducted through its various stages and passed. Fifty- 
eight members voted in its favour, the requisite two-thirds vote 
being fifty-six. It increased the number of representatives from 
84 to 130 65 for each section of the Province. This arrange- 


ment rendered necessary a new distribution of constituencies, which 
was duly effected by the Act. All the more important counties 
were divided for electoral purposes, and additional representation 
was assigned to the principal cities. In the cases of the towns 
of Brockville, Niagara and Cornwall, adjoining townships were 
added to them for electoral purposes. The representation, in a 
word, was adjusted on a more equitable basis, and extended so 
as to be more in accordance with the progress which had been 
made by the colony since the Union. Another good purpose 
effected by the measure was that it unquestionably tended to 
prevent undue or corrupt influence being brought to bear upon 
members, by reducing the value and importance of individual votes.* 
The Act was conditioned not to go into operation until the end of 
the Parliament then in being. 

The opposition to the Representation Act was chiefly due to the 

* " With BO small a body as eighty [-four] members, when parties are nearly balanced, 
individual votes become too precious, which leads to mischief. I have not experienced 
this evil to any preat extent since I have had a Liberal Administration, which has always 
been strong in the Assembly ; but with my first Administration I felt it severely." 
Letter of Lord Elgin ; see Walrond, p. 144. 


(From an original drawing b>/ ]{. R. H. the Frinrtm Louise.) 

Hincks Morin. 273 

advocates of the principle of representation by population. The 
census of 1852 disclosed the fact that Upper Canada had a popula- 
tion of more than 60,000 in excess of that of Lower Canada. It was 
argued by the Upper Canadian Opposition that Parliamentary repre- 
sentai ion should be based on population, and that as Upper Canada 
conta, ned more people than the Lower section of the Province she 
was entitled to send a greater number of representatives to Parlia- 
ment But, prior to the Union, and for nine years thereafter, the 
population of Lower Canada had been in excess of that of Upper 
Canada ; yet the former section of the Province had been permitted 
to have only an equal representation, and a Union had been forced 
upon Lower Canada on those terms. After submitting to such a state 
of things ever since the Union had been effected, it was scarcely to be 
supposed that the Lower Canadians would now willingly sanction 
the giving to Upper Canada of a representation greater than was 
conceded to themselves. Mr. Brown, by his advocacy of an unequal 
representation in favour of Upper Canada, still further widened the 
breach between the Lower Canadians and himself. 

The last few weeks of the session were marked by increased 
activity on the part of the Liberal Opposition in Upper Canada. 
This activity was due to several causes, one of which was the 
alleged tergiversation of the Government on the Clergy Reserves 
question. Towards the end of May news reached Canada that on 
the 9th of that month the Imperial Clergy Reserves Act had received 
the royal assent. By its provisions power was given to the Canadian 
Legislature to vary or repeal all or any part of the Act of 1840, and 
to make such other provisions for or concerning the sale, alienation 
or disposal of the Clergy Reserves or the proceeds thereof as to the 
said Legislature might seem meet. The last clause of the Act pro- 
hibited interference with the annual stipends or allowances which 
had already been assigned to clergymen, during the lives or incum- 
bencies of the persons interested. All restrictions against Provincial 

274 The Last Forty Years. 

legislation on the subject having thus been removed, it would have 
been quite practicable for the Government to introduce and carry 
through a measure for secularization before the adjournment, and Mr. 
Brown and others of his way of thinking vehemently urged such a pro- 
ceeding upon them. When it was known that they did not intend to 
deal with the question during the existing session a suspicion of their 
good faith began to be entertained, even by many of their supporters. 
Tlie Globe, and such of the Provincial papers as reflected the opinions 
of that journal,* of course made the most of the situation, and the 
Government felt the effect of their assaults. The terms upon which 
Mr. Hincks had let the contract for building the Grand Trunk Rail- 
way were also denounced as extravagant and prejudicial to the 
interests of the country. The numerous grants to sectarian schools 
and colleges formed still another ground of sweeping denunciation. 
The combined effect of these various onslaughts was undoubtedly to 
weaken the Ministry, insomuch that on more than one occasion 
they were only able to carry their measures by exceedingly narrow 

A few days before the adjournment certain events occurred which 
the Opposition contrived to turn to such account as to still further 
prejudice the Government in public estimation. During the spring 
of 1853 the celebrated Italian patriot Alessandro Gavazzi, an 
ex-monk of the Order of St. Paul, visited America. He had even 
at that time acquired a more than European fame by his exertions 
in the cause of Italian liberty. In England he had been hailed with 
the enthusiasm justly due to one who has fought and suffered in a 
righteous cause, and his reputation as an eloquent and impassioned 
orator had preceded him across the ocean. During a tour in the 
United States he delivered a succession of powerful lectures, chiefly 

* To Bpeak with absolute precision, The Globe was not a journal at that time. Its daily 
issue did not begin until Saturday, October 1st, 1853, three months and a half after the 
session had closed. 

llincka Morin. 275 

devoted to what he regarded as the errors of Romanism. Early in 
June, 1853, he reached Quebec, and on the evening of the 6th, pur- 
suant to previous announcement, he proceeded to deliver a discourse 
in the Free Church, in St. Ursule Street, on the subject of the 
Inquisition. A large audience assembled to hear him. When he 
had been speaking for somewhat more than an hour he was inter- 
rupted by violent and abusive exclamations on the part of a gang 
of k.wless ruffians who had distributed themselves here and there 
among the audience, and who had doubtless repaired to the lecture 
for t'ie purpose of assailing the orator of the evening. The inter- 
ruption was the signal for action on the part of other ruffians out- 
side. A volley of stones came crashing through the windows of the 

lurch, and immediately afterwards a crowd of persons armed with 
[bludgeons made a forcible entrance into the building. A scene of 

v i 1 < 1 confusion ensued. The shrieks of terrified women and children 
sounded in all directions. The intruders pressed forward in spite 
of such resistance as decorous, law-abiding citizens, hampered by 
the p\jesence of their wives and daughters, were able to offer, and a 
numbeV of them reached the pulpit where Father Gavazzi awaited 
their asfeault. They had to deal with no craven, but with a brave 
and resolute enthusiast who had more than once been compelled to 
take his life in his hand, and to fight for it against overwhelming 
odds. The mob precipitated themselves up the pulpit stairs with 
intent to hurl him to the floor. He was a man of large and power- 
ful build, with the courage of a Luther and the thews of a prize- 
fighter. He faced his assailants with dauntless front, and with eyas 
flashing like royal jewels. Armed with a stool, he struck right and 
left with lightning-like rapidity, and with such tremendous effect 
that sixteen of his assailants bit the dust before him. The contest, 
however, was too unequal, and after maintaining his position for 
some minutes he was thrown violently over the ledge of the pnlpit 
on to the heads of those beneath. Regaining his feet, he fought 

276 The Last Forty Tears. 

his way to one of the doors. A division of the military provi- 
dentially arrived on the scene, and soon all danger was over. 
Father Gavazzi escaped with a few contusions, but his secretary 
was so badly beaten that for several days fears were entertained for 
his life. After leaving the church the mob stationed themselves in 
front of the Parliament buildings, and roared in stentorian tones for 
Mr. George Brown, whose championship of Protestantism had mide 
him an object of their hatred. That gentleman happened to be 
absent from his place in the House on that evening, and did ncc fall 
into their clutches. It was necessary to summon additional military 
assistance before the mob was finally dispersed. The civil authorities 
were shamefully remiss in dealing with the rioters, and the matter 
was brought before the Assembly by Mr. Christie on the following 
day, when an informal discussion took place on the subject. 

On Thursday, the 9th, a much more serious affray occurred at 
Montreal, in consequence of the delivery of a lecture there by 
Father Gavazzi. The place of delivery was Zion Church, Haymarket 
Square. In order to guard against a recurrence of a scene similar 
to that which had been enacted three nights before at Quebec, a 
strong body of police were stationed opposite the church. Another 
occupied the middle of the square ; and a small body of troops was 
kept in readiness near by. While the lecture was in progress there 
was an attempt on the part of a band of Roman Catholic Irish to 
force their way into the church. In this attempt they would have 
succeeded in spite of the police but for a number of persons in the 
audience, who sallied forth and repelled the intruders. A few 
minutes afterwards the latter returned to the assault, and were 
again driven back. One of them fired a pistol in his retreat, and 
was immediately shot down by a Protestant. Several other shots 
followed, and in the confusion that ensued the lecture was hurriedly 
brought to a close, and the audience started for their respective 
homes. During their progress along the streets several shots were 

Hincka Morin. 277 

fired at them, and many of them were wounded by stones and other 
missiles. Two women were struck down and trampled almost to 
death. A child of nine years of age had its arm broken at the wrist. 
The streets resounded with the roars of murderous, half-drunken 
navvies, and the shrieks of terror-stricken women. Mr. Charles 
Wilson, the mayor of the city, for some unaccountable reason, ordered 
the troops, who had issued from their place of concealment, to fire 
upon the crowd. The order was obeyed, and five men fell dead. 
For a moment it seemed as though the massacre of St. Bartholomew 
was to be reenacted in the streets of Montreal ; but the firing by 
the troops put an end to aggression on the part of the mob. The 
dead and wounded were conveyed to their homes. It is impossible 
even to approximate the number of the wounded, but among them 
were at least a score of respectable men, women and children, whom 
only offence was that they had sanctioned, by their presence, a 
lecture by Father Gavazzi. 

Such an occurrence might well create tremendous excitement from 
one end of Canada to the other. The lawless character of the Mon- 
treal mob had never been more signally displayed, even during the 
excitement consequent on the Rebellion Losses Bill. As for the 
mayor, the most charitable supposition is that he was so carried away 
by the excitement of the hour as to lose his head.* But he was a 
Roman Catholic, and the Protestant population generally were not 
charitable in judging of his motives. The Upper Canadian Opposi- 
tion press made the calamity a ground of attack upon the Govern- 

Sir Francis Hincki is of opinion that the troop* find without orders, and he gives his 
reason* for believing that the mayor was guiltless of the massacre. See his lecture on 
" The Political History of Canada," pp. 78, 79. Sir Francis is doubtless sincere in giving 
expression to such a belief ; but a careful perusal of more than a score of contemporary 
accounts, and of the evidence given at the Inquest, together with repeated conversations 
with several persons who were present on the unfortunate occasion, have prevented the 
author from concurring in that view. It is fair, however to record the fact that Mr. 
Wilson himself, in his evidence before the Coroner's Jury, denied uu oath that be had 
given any order to fire a statem*nt which was contradicted by several other witnesses. 

278 The Last Forty Years. 

ment, who were charged with cowardice and heartlessness for not 
ordering an immediate and searching investigation. Mr. Hincks 
and the mayor of Montreal were both prominent members of the St. 
Patrick's Society, and the former was charged with being under 
Roman Catholic influence for political ends. In this way even the 
Gavazzi riots were made to subserve party purposes. The Govern- 
ment perhaps fairly earned a measure of censure for not immediately 
setting on foot a rigorous investigation, and subjecting the breakers 
of the law to adequate punishment.* For bringing Gavazzi to 
Canada they were of course not responsible, nor can Mr. Hincks 
with any approach to justice be held personally accountable for 
the shortcomings of the mayor of Montreal. 

Parliament adjourned on the 14th of June. Several minis- 
terial changes occurred in the course of the summer. On the 
22nd of June Attorney-General Richards was elevated to the place 
on the Bench which had become vacant in the previous April 
through the death of Judge Sullivan. He was succeeded in the 
Attorney-Generalship by the Hon. John Ross, whose place as Solici- 
tor-General was taken by the Hon. Joseph Curran Morrison. In the 
middle of August Mr. Caron also accepted a seat on the bench of the 
Superior Court in his native Province. He was succeeded as Speaker 
of the Legislative Council by Mr. (James) Morris. The latter's place 
of Postmaster-General was taken by Mr. Cameron, who was suc- 
ceeded in the offices of President of the Council and Minister of 
Agriculture by Dr. Rolph. The Commissionership of Crown Lands 
was thus left vacant. After being offered to Mr. Sicotte, and refused 
by that gentleman, it was at the end of August assumed by Mr. 
Morin, who relinquished the Provincial Secretaryship to Mr. Chau- 
veau. The Solicitor-Generalship for Lower Canada was then filled 
by the appointment of Mr. Dunbar Ross, who had sat in the Assembly 

* An investigation took place some time afterwards by the direction of the Government, 
but there wonld seam to have been unnecessary delay, and it was charged that the enquiry 
was not conducted with that rigour which the circumstances called for. 

Hinckt Morin. 279 

for Megantic during the last Parliament, but who at this time had 
no seat in Parliament, nor was he required to find one until the next 
general election. These numerous changes did not tend to strengthen 
the Government. Mr. Richards's demission of office was a decided 
loss, and the transference of some of the other portfolios was not 
popularly regarded with favour. The combined effect of these 
various modifications and the persistent attacks to which the Min- 
istry were subjected by the Opposition press was that they were 
decidedly weaker than they had been at the beginning of the year. 
The composition of the Government underwent no further change 
while it remained in existence. 




'* The Clergy Reserve question was one on which it was notorious that the public mind, 
in Upper Canada more especially, was much divided, and the Imperial statute on the 
subject had been repealed for the express purpose of facilitating a settlement which would 
be final, and in accordance with the deliberate views and convictions of the people of the 
Province. To attempt, therefore, to settle such a question in a Parliament which had 
been already declared by its own vote to be an imperfect representation of the people, 
and by the exercise of what might be deemed the influence of the Government, was a course 
of proceeding obviously open to serious objection." LORD ELGIN'S Despatch, to the Duke of 
Newcastle, June 22nd, 1854. 

;HILE the ministerial adjustments referred to at the 
close of the last chapter were in progress, Lord Elgin 
committed the functions of government to the hands of 
Lieutenant-Genera] Rowan, Commander-in-Chief of the 
Forces, and set out for England, partly to enjoy a much- 
needed holiday, and partly to impress upon the Imperial 
authorities the desirableness of obtaining a treaty of reciprocity with 
the United States. The latter project was one to the developmen 
whereof he had devoted much time, and which he was very desirou 
of seeing brought to a successful conclusion. Although he wa 
merely absent on leave, there was a general impression throughou 
the Province that his Excellency would not return to Canada. 

As the autumn passed by, several circumstances occurred which 
tended to the still further embarrassment of the Ministry. A new 
Commission of the Peace was issued, which gave rise to much hostile 
criticism with reference to some of the persons included in it. 
Messieurs Hincks and Drummond were fiercely taken to task by the 

Currents and Counter-Currents. 281 

Protestant population for alleged attempts on their part to rehabili- 
tate the reputation of the mayor of Montreal, which had suffered 
grievously among Protestants in consequence of the Gavazzi episode. 
The Roman Catholic hierarchy in Lower Canada not unnaturally 
espoused the side of Mr. Wilson, which was in itself an additional 
reason for his unpopularity with Protestants, as the odium theologi- 
cum was even more heated than ordinarily during that disturbed 
time. Mr. Drummond was now Attorney-General for Lower Canada, 
and he was accused of being unnecessarily dilatory in bringing the 
rioters to justice. Mr. Hincks also became involved in some unplea- 
sant personal complications. At the trial of a case of Paterson et ai 
vs. Bowes, in the Court of Chancery for Upper Canada, at Toronto, in 
September, certain facts were elicited which went to show that the 
Inspector-General, while holding office as First Minister of the Crown, 
had joined the mayor of Toronto in the purchase of municipal deben- 
tures of that city at a discount of twenty per cent. It also appeared 
that a Bill had afterwards been passed through Parliament whereby 
the value of the debentures had been raised to par. As thus tersely 
stated, the transaction certainly had a suspicious and unpleasant 
aspect. A little amplification gave it a somewhat less questionable 
Cf.mplexion. The facts, briefly stated, were as follow. The city 
of Toronto had agreed to take stock in the Ontario, Simcoe and 
Huron Railway Company to the extent of $200,000. The com- 
pany had made a contract for the building of the road, and the 
contractor had agreed to take the debentures in payment.* The 
debentures were for sale on the Toronto stock market for months, 
the current price being about eighty cents on the dollar. Mr. 
Bowes, mayor of Toronto, proposed to Mr. Hincks to join him 
in buying up the debentures. Mr. Hincks responded favourably, 
and the proposal was carried out The Act ef Parliament after- 

The County of Simcof took a similar amount of itoek, and paid for it in the lame way, 

282 The Last Forty Tears. 

wards obtained was a mere matter of form. It was unopposed, 
and was obtained without the necessity of any Parliamentary 
influence on the part of Mr. Hincks. The object of procuring 
it was to enable the city of Toronto to provide a moderate sink- 
ing fund, and to make the debentures payable in London. The 
city wished to raise more money for its own purposes, and to 
exchange new debentures for the old ones. The transaction turned 
out to be for the benefit of the city, but the Court held that 
Mr. Bowes, being the mayor of the corporation, must be held as 
acting in a quasi-fiduciary capacity, and that the city was entitled 
to his share of the profits. As for Mr. Hincks, there was no ground 
for instituting any legal proceedings against him, nor were any such 
instituted, but there was a very general opinion that, considering 
the position which he occupied, it would have been better if he had 
had no pecuniary connection with the transaction. 

Another charge brought against the Inspector-General was the 
purchase of certain Government lands with a view to speculation. 
Investigation revealed the fact that Government had acquired from 
a defaulting officer a considerable farm near Point Levi, opposite 
Quebec. It was sold by public auction in several lots. One of the 
lots was bought by a syndicate of which Mr. Hincks was a member. 
No Government influence was brought to bear, nor did any necessity 
for such influence arise. The bargain finally turned out an un- 
profitable one a fact, however, which did not in the least affect 
the propriety or impropriety of the transaction. Mr. Hincks, by 
virtue of his public office, was a trustee for the Province, and had 
voluntarily placed himself in a dubious position. He was subse- 
quently acquitted by Parliamentary Committees of any corrupt 
design in respect of both the abovementioned transactions ; but in 
the latter, as in the former case, there was a very general feeling of 
regret that a Cabinet Minister should not have shunned the very 
appearance of impropriety in such matters. These disclosures fur- 

Currents and Counter-Currenta. 283 

nished another source of unpopularity for the Ministry of which 
he was the head, and another basis for attack on the part of the 
Opposition, who undoubtedly made a much louder outcry than the 
circumstances legitimately called for. 

Provincial railway projects were pushed forward during the year 
at a rapid rate. In June the Grand Trunk was opened to Portland, 
an event which was celebrated by a costly banquet at Montreal. 
The Great Western was opened from Suspension Bridge westward to 
London at the close of the year, and within a month afterwards it 
was completed through to Windsor. The Ontario, Simcoe and 
Huron now called the Northern was completed from Toronto to 
Bradford in June, and thence to Barrie in October. In the Lower 
Province there was also considerable development in the same 
direction. The breaking out of the Crimean war caused a brisk 
demand for grain at high prices, and Canadian farmers throve apace. 
Business of all kinds continued active, and it was fondly believed by 
persons ignorant of political economy that the era of prosperity would 
know no end. The Governor-General, meanwhile, was not losing his 
time in the mother country. By his letters to, and conferences with, 
distinguished persona in various parts of the kingdom, as well as by 
his eloquent speeches at several sumptuous banquets given in his 
honour, he rendered great services to Canada, by making known the 
vast resources of the country, and the splendid field which it afforded 
for immigration. He remained in England until the spring of 1854, 
having in the interim been specially empowered by the Imperial 
Government' to negotiate a treaty of reciprocity with the United 
States. Early in the year last named Mr. Hincks also proceeded to 
England on important public business connected with the Grand 
Trunk Railway and the Provincial finances. It was not till May 
that the Governor and the Premier left for Washington, whither 
they proceeded to settle the terms of the proposed treaty. 

Lord Elgin, as has been seen, had long been desirous of bringing 

284 The Last Forty Tears. 

about a treaty of reciprocity with the United States, and had 
cordially cooperated with his Ministers with that object in view. 
Mr. Hincks had previously visited Washington as the representa- 
tive of the Government, and had done his utmost to secure the 
concurrence of American statesmen in the project. He had, how- 
ever, been called upon to encounter serious difficulties. The chief 
obstacle was the American Congress, which could not readily 
be induced to take up the subject. " In the vast multiplicity 
of matters with which that Assembly has to deal," says Lord 
Elgin's biographer, "it is said that no cause which does not 
appeal strongly to a national sentiment, or at least to some party 
feeling, has a chance of obtaining a hearing, unless it is taken up 
systematically by ' organizers ' outside the House. The Recipro- 
city Bill was not a measure about which any national or even party 
feeling could be aroused. It was one which required much study 
to understand its bearings, and which would affect different interests 
in the country in different ways. It stood, therefore, especially in 
need of the aid of professional organizers ; a kind of aid of which 
it was of course impossible that either the British or the Canadian 
Government should avail itself. Session after session the Bill was 
proposed, scarcely debated, and set aside." * Most Canadians had 
abandoned all expectation of seeing the matter brought to a success- 
ful issue, and when the Governor and Mr. Hincks left for Washington 
there was a general belief throughout the Province that they would 
have their journey for their pains. It was Lord Elgin's first diplo- 
matic mission. Contrary to prevalent expectation, its object was 
successfully accomplished. On the 5th of June the treaty was 
signed by Lord Elgin on behalf of Great Britain, and by the Hon. 
William L. Marcy, Secretary of State of the United States, on the 
part of the republic. 

By its provisions the people of the United States were autho- 

Walroml, pp. 107, 108. 

Currents and Counter-Currents. 285 

rized to take fish of any kind, except shell-fish, on the sea-coasts 
and shores, and in the bays, harbours and creeks of the British 
Provinces, without being restricted to any distance from the shore. 
Similar privileges were in turn conferred upon British subjects 
with respect to the eastern sea-coasts and shores of the United 
States, north of the 36th parallel of north latitude. Mutual per- 
mission was given to the subjects of each to land upon the coasts 
and shores of the other for the purpose of drying their nets and 
curing their fish. The third article of the treaty enumerated cer- 
tain commodities, being the growth and produce of the British 
colonies or of the United States, which were conditioned to be 
admitted into each country free of duty. The most important of 
these were grain, flour and breadstuff's of all kinds, animals, meats, 
poultry, fish, lumber, hides, ores of metals, rice, hemp, and manufac- 
tured tobacco. The fourth article opened the navigation of the St. 
Lawrence and the Canadian canals to the people of the United 
States on the same terms as were exacted from British subjects. 
The latter were in turn endowed with the right to navigate Lake 
Michigan. It was further agreed that no export or other duty 
should be levied on timber cut in that portion of the State of Maine 
watered by the St John River and its tributaries, and floated down 
that river to the sea for shipment U- the United States from the 
Province of New Brunswick. The hieaty was not to take effect until 
it had received the sanction of the Imperial and Provincial Parlia- 
ments on the one har.d, and of the Congress of the United States on 
the other. It was conditioned to remain in force for ten years from 
the date at which it should come into operation, and further, until 
the expiration oT twelve months after either of the contracting 
parties should give notice to the other of a wish to terminate 
it, each bciug at liberty to give such notice at the end of the said 
term of ten years, or at any time afterwards. Practically speak- 
ing, the treaty may be said to have been thirteen years in operation ; 
for though it did not legally come into force until March, 1855, ami 

286 The Last Forty Tears. 

though it ended early in 18G6, the international traffic was adjusted 
with reference to it immediately after its ratification in 1854, and it 
was carried on with such energy during the months of its operation 
in the two years last named as to place them on an equality with 
others of the intervening eleven. Its effect was to give a decided 
stimulus to various branches of industry in Canada, and the agri- 
cultural community early felt the benefits which it conferred. In 
the Maritime Provinces it was not popular, the inhabitants alleging 
that any benefit to them arising from reciprocity was dearly pur- 
chased by the fishing privileges conferred upon the people of the 
United States. Complaint was also made that registration was 
refused to colonial vessels entering United States ports, whereas the 
ships of the latter nation were admitted into British American ports 
upon the same terms as those of the mother country. There were 
doubtless elements in the treaty which might well have been much 
more favourable to the British colonies, but a very brief glance at 
statistics is all that is necessary to satisfy any unbiassed enquirer 
as to the benefit which Canada derived from it.* 

Immediately after the signing of the treaty Lord Elgin and Mr. 
Hincks returned to Canada, where Parliament had been summoned 
to meet on the 13th of June. 

Much dissatisfaction had been expressed with the Ministry for 
having delayed the assembling of Parliament until within a single 
day of the limit allowed by the law.f which enjoined the meeting 

* " The grand fact remains that, under the operation of the Reciprocity Treaty of 1854, 
the aggregate interchange of commodities between the Republic and the Provinces to 
promote which the Treaty was concluded rose from an annual average of 814,230,763 
in the previous eight years, to 833,492,754, gold currency, in the first year of its existence ; 
to 842,942,754, gold currency, in the second year of its existence ; to $50,339,770, gold, in 
its third year ; and to no less a sum than 884,070,955 at war prices, in its thirteenth year." 
See "Commercial Reciprocity between the United States and the British North Ameri- 
can Provinces," a pamphlet prepared at Washington under the auspices of Sir Edward 
Thornton and the Hon. George Brown, in 1874. 

t/.., the 31st clause of the Union Act, which provided that "There shall be a session 
of the Legislative Council and Assembly of the Province of Canada once at least every 

Currents and Counter-Currents. 

of Parliament at least once in every twelve months. Various writers, 
referring to the subject, have accounted for the delay by saying that 
the Government were conscious of waning influence, and were afraid 
to meet Parliament. It is difficult to understand what the Govern- 
ment could have expected to gain by delay. They knew that a 
merciless war was being waged against them by the Opposition in 
Upper Canada, and it is possible enough that they may have been 
" conscious of waning influence ; " but they well knew that they 
must meet Parliament sooner or later, and they had nothing to 
hope from postponing their hour of trial Moreover, the session 
could not very well have been held in the absence of both the 
Governor and the Premier, who were absent, first in England, and 
afterwards at Washington, and who did not return to Canada from 
the latter city until just before the actual opening. 

A calamity had befallen the Parliament buildings since the last 
session. Several hours before daylight on the morning of the 1st of 
February, a fire, communicated from the flues beneath the library, 
broke out in the south wing, which was appropriated to the use of 
the Legislative Council. The flames soon spread, and the entire 
range of buildings was consumed, entailing a loss upon the Province 
of more than 100,000. Much valuable furniture, a number of 
excellent paintings, and, worst of all, some of the public records and 
a great portion of the library, were destroyed. The library, though 
it had been got together in less than five years that is to say, since 
the burning of the Parliament buildings in Montreal in 1849 was 
of inestimable value, and contained books and documents of which 
no duplicates were obtainable. In addition to the material loss, 
the calamity was to be deplored for the associations connected with 
the time-honoured structure, around which many historic memories 

year, to that a period of twelve calendar months shall not intervene between the Ian 
itting . . in one session . . and the first sitting in the next session. The i 
<if the previous year assembled on the 14th of June. Ante, p. 278. 

288 The Last Forty Tears. 

clung, and wherein the stormy sessions of the old Parliament of 
Lower Canada had been held for nearly half a century. An edifice 
which had been erected for the Sisters of Charity was now tempo- 
rarily fitted up for the accommodation of the Government. Three 
mouths later on the night of May 3rd this structure also fell a 
prey to the flames. The Assembly was finally compelled to meet 
in the Music Hall, while the Upper House found temporary 
accommodation in the Court House. 

The Government had concluded that it would be unadvisable to 
proceed to the settlement of the Clergy Reserves and Seigniorial 
Tenure questions during the session. Such important matters, they 
argued, ought not to be dealt with by an expiring Parliament. 
During the last session, as has been seen, an Act had been passed to 
increase the representation in the Assembly from 84 to 130 members. 
It had received the sanction of more than two-thirds of the entire 
membership of both branches of the Legislature. With what pro- 
priety, then, it was asked, could the Government proceed to the 
settlement of such vital questions as the Clergy Reserves and the 
Seigniorial Tenure in a Parliament which had already proclaimed 
itself to be an inadequate representation of the people ? If the 
Government thought proper to introduce measures secularizing the 
Reserves and abolishing or commuting the Tenure, they would 
probably be able to command a majority in their favour in the 
existing Parliament ; but would not such a proceeding be an abuse 
of power an act of intolerable oppression ? In view of all the 
circumstances, it was surely desirable that there should be an express 
appeal to the people. Such was the ministerial view of the situation 
a view which received sanction from British precedent in the case 
of the Reform Act of 1832 and the Governor-General entirely con- 
curred in it. 

The determination of the Government to postpone legislation on 
the two most prominent questions of the clay had been informally 

f Engraved from 
an original drawing by H. 
the Princess Louise.) 



Currents and Counter-Currents. 289 

announced towards the close of 1853. As might have been expected, 
the announcement raised a tempest of objurgation on the part of the 
most extreme section of the Opposition press. Ministers were 
accused of trifling with public opinion, and of having practised a 
studied course of deception ever since assuming the reins of power. 
They had determined, it was said, to make the settlement of those 
two great questions a stalking-horse at the ensuing elections, and 
this notwithstanding the fact that they had been returned at the 
last general election pledged to dispose of the two great standing 
grievances of the two sections of the Province. The argument about 
an express appeal to the popular vote was characterized as "the 
most shallow of political dodges." Public opinion, it was said, had 
been pronounced upon these questions times without number, before 
the Union and since.* The wrath of the discontented was bound- 
less. So high ran the dispute, and so strong were the conflicting 
opinions entertained among the Liberals that a total disruption of 
that party seemed imminent While public opinion was thus agi- 
tated, the Houses met, as above stated, on the 13th of June, 185K 

" It U all very well," Mad the Globe, " for Mr. Hindu to talk about submitting the 
question of the Clergy Reserve to popular vote. No anti-State Churchman in Canada 
but would rejoice in having the question left to such a mode of decision, could a fair volt 
tit taken upon it. But Mr. Hincks and every one else knows well that at the approaching 
election the question U to be coupled with the whole of the scandalous proceedings of the 
Ministry for three yean that it is to be made the mere stalking-horse of certain men to 
certain office* that it U to be made the cover of broken promises, unsound legislation 
and railway jobbing. It is perfectly obvious that there are thousands who hare always 
voted for the secularization of the Reserve*, and who may have even voted to make Mr. 
Francis Hincks Premier, who will not now vote to continue him in that position at any 
price. And there Is a still larger party in the country who might vote for Mr. Hincks, 
or for Mr. Anybody else, so that the Clergy Reserves were but certain to be secularized, 
who will not put the slightest faith in th sincerity of Mr. Hincks and his colleagues, and 
who will readily understand that the Clergy Reserve cry is merely used in 1854 as it was 
in 1 vM : with the same intention now as then, the retention of office: and undoubtedly 
with the same results broken promises and open chuckling at the success of the trick ; 
Mr. Hincks cannot gull the Reformers of Upper Canada at a second election with the 
same decoy-duck that he may depend on. He must either secularize or go out." Semi- 
, Tuesday, December 27th, 1853. 

290 The Last Forty Years. 

The object in assembling Parliament at this time was merely to pass 
two or three urgent measures, prior to a dissolution. It was very 
desirable to pass a Bill without delay giving effect to the Reciprocity 
Treaty ; and it was also considered expedient to amend the Act of 
the last session extending the elective franchise. In order that 
sufficient time might be afforded to complete the system of registra- 
tion of voters imposed by the latter measure, the 1st of January, 
1855, had been assigned as the date of its coming into operation. 
But as it was now settled that a general election should take place 
before that date, it was desirable that the Act should come into 
operation in time to admit of its provisions being taken advantage 
of by persons who would otherwise be debarred from voting at the 
election. To effect this object express legislation was necessary. 
The Governor's Speech at the opening suggested the enactment of a 
law to accomplish the desired end, as well as of a measure to give 
effect to the Reciprocity Treaty, but it contained no reference of any 
kind to the Clergy Reserves or the Seigniorial Tenure. 

The Ministry, as we have seen, had been steadily losing ground 
for many months, and it soon became evident that they were in a 
minority. Four different amendments to the Address in Reply were 
moved by Messieurs Henry Sherwood,* Cauchon, Sicotte and Lang- 
ton.f They were condemnatory of the ministerial policy in not 
summoning Parliament at an earlier date, and in not promptly 
moving in the matter of the Reserves and Tenure. A sharp debate 
followed, lasting over several days, during which the Government 
were subjected to severe strictures. There was a manifest ten- 
dency on the part of the various sections of the Upper Canadian 
Opposition to sink their differences, and to coalesce with a view 
to the defeat of the Ministry ; so that while Mr. Morin's Lower 

Mr. Sherwood had been returned for the City of Toronto at a bye-election in April, 
t Member for Peterborough. 

Currents and Counter-Currents. 291 

Canadian supporters for the most part stood by him, Mr. Hincks 
was deserted by many of those upon whom he had been accustomed 
to rely. The disposal of the Clergy Reserves was a matter as to 
which it was not to be expected that the advocates of a State 
Church could agree with the advocates of secularization, but they 
at least agreed in wishing to see the matter disposed of, and 
removed from the arena of Parliamentary controversy. Even so 
staunch a Churchman as Sir Allan MacNab was emphatic in his pro- 
testations against the dilatory course pursued by the Ministry. "The 
present Government," said he, " have had a large majority at their 
command year after year, but they have wholly neglected to pro- 
ceed to the settlement of this question, alleging as their excuse that 
they could do nothing without Imperial permission. That permission 
has now been obtained, but Ministers still continue to find excuses for 
delay." Mr. Sherwood followed to the same purport Mr. (John A.) 
Macdonald and Mr. Brown also participated in the debate, and made 
speeches strongly condemnatory of the Government. The discussion 
closed on the night of Tuesday, the 20th, when the amendments of 
Mr. Cauchon and Mr. Sicotte were carried by a majority of 13, the 
division being 42 to 29. Mr. Cauchon's amendment expressed regret 
that a ministerial measure for settling the Seigniorial Tenure question 
was not to be submitted during the session ; and Mr. Sicotte's added 
the words " or one for the immediate settlement of the Clergy 
Reserves." Both the Conservative and Liberal Opposition could 
conscientiously unite in supporting this amendment, which merely 
recognized the expediency of a " settlement," without imposing any 
conditions as to the nature of that settlement. We accordingly find 
among the majority the names of persons of every shade of Pro- 
vincial politics, between whom there was no sentiment in common 
except a desire to overturn the Ministry. The vote was practically 
one of non-confidence in the Administration, and was so regarded. 
Mr. Hincks moved au adjournment until the following Thursday 

292 The Last Forty Tears. 

(the 22nd), in order that the Ministry might have time to decide 
what course they should adopt under the circumstances. The 
motion was carried, and the House adjourned accordingly. 

The appointed Thursday was looked forward to with eager ex- 
pectation, and the most conflicting rumours were rife as to what the 
day would bring forth. When the time of meeting arrived there 
was a very full attendance of members. Scarcely had the Speaker 
taken the chair ere the roar of guns was heard announcing Lord 
Elgin's departure from Government House. The session, then, was 
to be brought to a close, and his Excellency was already on his way to 
effect that purpose. Sir Allan MacNab hurriedly got upon his feet, 
and enquired of the Ministry if they had determined that there was 
to be an immediate prorogation. Mr. Morin replied to the query 
by an inclination of his head. " And," asked Sir Allan, " is there to 
be an immediate dissolution ? " Again Mr. Morin nodded. " Then," 
said the Knight, in a tone of considerable excitement, " I protest, in 
the name of the Opposition, against our being broken up in such a 
manner ! I declare, on behalf of myself and friends, that we are 
quite prepared to make a respectful reply to his Excellency's Speech : 
that we are ready to pass a Bill bringing the new Franchise Act at 
once into operation, and to grant the necessary supplies for the cur- 
rent year ! " A moment's pause ensued, whereupon Mr. Mackenzie 
arose and indulged in an almost hysterical attack upon the occupants 
of the Treasury benches. He characterized their proceedings as con- 
temptible and unbecoming in any body of men entrusted with the 
direction of public affairs. In the course of his remarks he asked 
permission to introduce a Bill for the secularization of the Reserves. 
While he was haranguing the House, Black Rod knocked at the door, 
and the Sergeant-at-arms approached the Bar and communicated 
the fact. A stormy scene ensued, a score of persons attempting to 
make themselves heard at once. Black Rod, it was said, should 
remain at the door until members could have time to express their 

Currentt and Counter-Currents. 293 

views. Mr. Mackenzie, despairing of making himself heard, ceased 
his harangue and sat down, whereupon Mr. John A. Macdonald took 
the floor, and made a vigorous attack upon the Ministry, whose 
course he declared to be unconstitutional, and due to a desire to 
prevent any enquiry into their corrupt practices until after the 
elections should be over. Other speakers attempted to address the 
House, but the uproar had by this time become so great that they 
could not be heard to any purpose. The Speaker had meanwhile 
been considering what to do with Black Rod. He at last decided 
that that functionary must be admitted. The door was accordingly 
opened to him, and the members proceeded to the Court House, 
where the Legislative Council were sitting, and where the Governor 
was awaiting the arrival of his " faithful Commons." 

\Yliile the members of the Assembly are wending their way 
to the Council Chamber, it is worth while to glance for a moment 
at the constitutional aspect of affairs. The 31st section of the 
Union Act * provided that a Parliamentary session should be held 
at least once in every year, so that not more than twelve months 
should intervene between session and session. Now, according to 
Parliamentary usage, at least one Bill must be passed through all its 
stages by both Houses, in order to constitute a session. In the case 
under consideration no Bill had been passed, and the limited time 
had expired. Here was a chance to attack the Government on 
purely constitutional grounds, and of this chance the Speaker did 
not neglect to avail himself. He had never forgiven Mr. Hincks 
for assigning the Attorney-Generalship for Upper Canada to 
Mr. Richards instead of to himself, upon the formation of the 
Cabinet in the autumn of 1851. It was his duty, as Speaker, to 
call attention to any infringement of the constitution, and he 
accordingly prepared a pithy address to be delivered at the appro- 
priate time. 

Ante, pp. 286, 287, noto. 

294 Tla Last Forty Years. 

The appropriate time arrived when the Assembly reached 
the Council Chamber. The Speaker reached the Bar, and his 
Excellency held out his hand to receive from his Secretary the 
closing Speech. Much to the astonishment of Lord Elgin and his 
Ministers, the Speaker then produced a paper from which he read 
the address which he had prepared for the occasion, and which was 
in the following words : " MAY IT PLEASE YOUR EXCELLENCY : It 
has been the immemorial custom of the Speaker of the Commons 
House of Parliament to communicate to the Throne the general 
result of the deliberations of the Assembly upon the principal 
objects which have employed the attention of Parliament during the 
period of their labours. It is not now part of my duty thus to 
address your Excellency, inasmuch as there has been no Act passed 
or judgment of Parliament obtained since we were honoured by 
your Excellency's announcement of the cause of summoning the 
Parliament by your gracious Speech from the Throne. The passing 
of an Act through its several stages, according to the law and custom 
of Parliament (solemnly declared applicable to the Parliamentary 
proceedings of this Province, by a decision of the Legislative 
Assembly of 1841), is held to be necessary to constitute a session of 
Parliament. This we have been unable to accomplish, owing to the 
command which your Excellency has laid upon us to meet you this 
day for the purpose of prorogation. At the same time, I feel called 
upon to assure your Excellency, on the part of Her Majesty's faith- 
ful Commons, that it is not from any want of respect to yourself, or 
to the august personage whom you represent in these Provinces, that 
no answer has been returned by the Legislative Assembly to your 
gracious Speech from the Throne." 

After being read over in English, this address was repeated in 
French. Persons who were present on the occasion have recorded 
that his Excellency's countenance displayed " deep displeasure and 
annoyance ' * at being compelled to listen to what he could not 

"> Mr. Tannings Taylor'h " Portraits of British Americans." Vol. I., p. 100. 

Currents and Counter-Currents. 295 

regard otherwise than as a censure upon his Ministers and a repri- 
mand to himself. The episode being ended, he recovered his 
equanimity, and prorogued Parliament with a very brief Speech, in 
which an immediate dissolution was announced. 

The dissolution followed immediately, and the elections were 
fixed to come off in July and August. All through these hot 
summer months the campaign was carried on with tremendous 
vigour. The question before the country was whether the Govern- 
ment possessed the confidence of the people. In Lower Canada 
Mr. Morin continued to receive a large measure of loyal support 
from his compatriots, though he was beaten in Terrebonne, and was 
finally compelled to find a seat in the constituency of Chicoutimi and 
Tadoussac. Mr. Drummond was again returned for Shefford, Mr. 
Chauveau for Quebec County, and Mr. Chabot for Bellechasse. Mr. 
Dunbar Ross, Solicitor-General East, was returned for Beauce. The 
Upper Canadian Ministers had to contend against a combination of 
hostile influences. The Conservative press unanimously opposed 
them. The Globe, of course, echoed the opinions of Mr. Brown. The 
North American, which had been the chief supporter of the Govern- 
ment in Upper Canada, was now in opposition, as was likewise The 
Examiner. Mr. Mackenzie, who now cooperated with Mr. Brown, 
had also begun to issue his Message, which was for the most part 
written by himself, and which assailed the Ministry from week 
to week with hyper-fervid utterances. The only ably-conducted 
metropolitan newspaper to array itself on the ministerial side was 
The Leader, which had been started in Toronto by Mr. James Beaty 
in 1852. The sharpest thorn in the ministerial flesh was unques- 
tionably The Globe, which went the length of supporting Conserva- 
tives in preference to ministerial candidates.* Against such tactics, 
and such odds, the Ministry could not hope to maintain their ground. 

In Hamilton, for instance, The Qlobt supported Sir Allan MacNab against Mr. Isaao 
Buchanan. It will ilnubtless surprise the younger politicians of the present generation to 
learn that The Globe also supported Mr. John A. Macdonjjd and Mr. Cayley against 

ministerial candidate*. 

296 The Last Forty Tears. 

Mr. Brown himself opposed and defeated Mr. Malcolm Cameron in 
Lambton, a new constituency created by the recently-passed Repre- 
sentation Act.* Dr. Rolph was reelected for Norfolk, and Mr. 
Hincks, in spite of the determined opposition brought to bear 
against him, was returned for two constituencies, South Oxford 
and Renfrew. Mr. J. C. Morrison, Solicitor-General West, was also 
reelected for Niagara. But the complete returns for Upper Canada 
shewed only about thirty names out of sixty-five in favour of the 
Ministry, whereas all their most dangerous opponents had found 
seats Mr. Brown for Lambton, Mr. Mackenzie for his former con- 
stituency of Haldimand, Mr. (J. S.) Macdonald for Glengarry, 
and Mr. Cauchon for Montmorency. Mr. Cameron, having been 
beaten as abovementioned by Mr. Brown, did not offer himself 
elsewhere, and for some years afterwards remained out of Parlia- 
ment. Mr. Papineau did not present himself for reelection, but 
voluntarily withdrew from public life. He had become alive to the 
mistake he had made in reentering the Parliamentary arena after 
his return from exile. He might doubtless have continued to find 
a seat in the Assembly as long as he had chosen to seek one, but his 
life's work was over, and by his continuance in Parliament he would 
merely have subjected himself to ceaseless worry and turmoil to no 
purpose. The rest of his days were spent in dignified and scholarly 
retirement. He attained extreme old age, and died at Montebello, 
his beautiful home on the banks of the Ottawa, in September, 1871. 
All the leading Conservative members in the upper section of the 
Province were returned. Sir Allan MacNab, John A. Macdonald, Wil- 
liam Cayley, W. B. Robinson, John Hillyard Cameron and Edmund 
Murney, came successfully out of their respective election contests, 
and took their seats at the opening of the session. Among other 
members of the Assembly with whom the reader is acquainted 

* It had previously formed part of the constituency of Kent, which had been repr- 
sented in the Assembly by Mr. Cameron during the last two Parliaments. 

Currents and Counter-Current. 297 

may be mentioned W. H. Merritt, John Young, A. T. Gait, G. E. 
Cartier, A. J. Ferguson, J. C. Chapais and L. V. Sicotte. Conspicuous 
among the new members were Luther Hamilton Holton, Antoine 
Ainu'- Dorion, Jean Baptiste Eric Dorion, Michael Hamilton Foley 
and Robert Spence. With Mr. Holton the reader is already 
acquainted.* He took his seat as one of the members for Montreal 
City. Mr. A. A. Dorion, who had also been returned as a member 
for Montreal, was a distinguished member of the local bar. He 
held advanced political opinions, and became the recognized leader 
of the Rouges at the outset of his Parliamentary career. He 
possessed fine natural abilities, in addition to an educational training 
of exceptional thoroughness, and a courtly and polished manner ; 
qualifications which, added to a spotless moral reputation, enabled 
him to launch himself on the tide of public life with many advan- 
tages in his favour. His command of choice English was unrivalled 
by any French member of the House, and the delicate purity of his 
accent was such as few foreigners ever attain. He was destined to 
a long, honourable and useful political career, and to receive the 
honour of knighthood at the hands of his Sovereign. He is at the 
present time Chief Justice of the Court of Queen's Bench of Quebec. 
J. B. E. Dorion was the founder of I'Avenir, the organ of the Rouges, 
and his political opinions were of the radically advanced order to 
be expected from one occupying such a position. He took his seat 
for the constituency of Drummond and Arthabaska. Mr. Foley, 
who had been returned for the North Riding of Waterloo, was, as 
his name indicates, an Irishman, but he had lived in Canada from 
boyhood, and had early imbibed Liberal principles. He was an 
attorney by profession, but was chiefly known as a clever newspaper 
writer. He developed into an effective speaker, and a conspicuous 
member of Parliament. Mr. Spence was also an Irishman by birth, 

Ante, Vol. I., p. 217. 

298 Tiie Last Forty Tears. 

who had made his way to Canada early in life, and who had by 
turns been an auctioneer, a schoolmaster, and a newspaper editor 
at Dundas. He was an enthusiastic Reformer, and a firm supporter 
of Mr. Hincks. He enjoyed the distinction of becoming a Cabinet 
Minister before he had sat a week in Parliament. 

Such were the principal changes brought about by the elections 
of 1854. The country as a whole had pronounced emphatically in 
favour of the secularization of the Clergy Reserves and the abolition 
of the Seigniorial Tenure. While the elections were in progress, 
news arrived from England that an Act had been passed by the 
Imperial Parliament empowering the Canadian Legislature to alter 
the constitution of the Legislative Council, and to apply the elective 
principle to that body, in accordance with the terms of the Address 
which had been forwarded from the Assembly during the previous 
year.* This Act, which received the royal assent on the llth of 
August, was an important concession, and was appreciated as such 
in Canada. How it was acted upon will hereafter appear. Parlia- 
ment was summoned for the 5th of September, and as the situation 
was an interesting and critical one, there was a very full attendance 
on the day of opening. 

The composition of the Upper House had undergone no change 
since the previous session. The full membership of the Assembly, 
under the new Representation Act, was 130. Of these, 121 took 
their seats at the opening. Seven only were absent; and two 
seats were vacant, owing to double returns.f The new Assembly 
was made up of three distinct parties : Ministerialists, Conservatives, 
and advanced Reformers. The Ministerialists, who were the most 
numerous of the three, were chiefly composed of moderate Reformers 

Ante, p. 271. 

t The two members honoured with a double return were Mr. Hincks, elected for Ren- 
frew and South Oxford, and Mr. Chabot, elected for Quebec City and Bellechasse. The 
funner signified his pleasure to sit for Renfrew, and the latter elected to sit for Quebec. 

Currents and Counter-Currents. 299 

from both sections of the Province. The Conservatives, who 
acknowledged the leadership of Sir Allan MacNab, for the most 
part represented Upper Canadian constituencies. The advanced 
Reformers were made up of Upper Canadian Clear Grits and Lower 
Canadian Rouges. At the head of the former was Mr. Qeorge 
Brown ; at the head of the latter, Mr. A. A. Dorion. Mr. Brown had 
been brought to ally himself with the radical element by the sheer 
force of his opposition to the Government ; so that now, without 
having in any material respect modified his views, he had become 
the Parliamentary colleague of William Lyon Mackenzie, and the 
acknowledged leader of the Clear Grits, whom he had lately con- 
temned and reviled. In Lower Canada there had been an evident 
reaction in favour of the Rouges, nineteen of whom now arrayed 
themselves under Mr. Dorion's banner in opposition to the Govern- 
ment. A majority of them were persons of great earnestness and 
ability, who could not fail to make their presence felt in Parliament. 
The preparations for the vote on the Speakership had been made 
with unusual care, as that vote would evidently afford a fair indica- 
tion of the strength of parties. The ministerial candidate was Mr. 
George E. Cartier. The candidate of the Clear Grit party was Mr. 
John Sandfield Macdonald, who had been Speaker throughout the 
last Parliament, but who, as has been seen, had never forgiven Mr. 
Hincks for not making him Attorney-General, and had lost no 
opportunity of proving his antagonism to the Administration. The 
Government had shown some desire to appease him by adopting him 
as their candidate for the Speakership at the beginning of the first 
session of the last Parliament, but he was not to be mollified by such 
means. He had capped the climax of his hostility by presenting to 
the Governor the address already referred to, at the close of the 
short session in June. It was a foregone conclusion that he would 
now be opposed by the full strength of the Government. The Lower 
Canadian Opposition put forward Mr. Sicotte. A distinct under- 

300 The Last Forty Years. 

standing seems to have been arrived at between the Conservatives 
and Radicals to act in concert on this question of the Speakership, 
for the purpose of defeating the Ministry. It was not generally 
believed that Mr. Sicotte had any chance of being elected, but in 
order to conciliate the Lower Canadian Opposition the Clear Grits 
and Conservatives agreed that that gentleman's name should be sub- 
mitted, and that in case of his rejection his supporters should vote 
for Mr. Macdonald. For several days before the opening repeated 
caucuses had been held, and it was apparent that the contest would 
be a close one, but Mr. Macdonald's chances of election were believed 
to be remarkably good. 

No sooner had the Governor-General withdrawn, after saluting 
his new Parliament, and suggesting to them the expediency of pro- 
ceeding to the election of a Speaker, than Mr. W. B. Lindsay, the 
Clerk of the Assembly, took the Chair. Mr. Cartier was then 
proposed by Mr. Spence. The proposal was seconded by Mr. 
Lemieux, member for Levis. Mr. A. A Dorion then proposed Mr. 
Sicotte, and Mr. Scatcherd, from West Middlesex, proposed Mr. J. 
S. Macdonald ; the respective proposals being seconded by Mr. 
Hartman, of North York, and Mr. Matheson, of North Oxford. A 
brief but animated debate followed, in the course of which several 
of the young Rouges displayed a high degree of oratorical ability. 
Mr. Mackenzie also made an able speech in favour of Mr. Macdonald, 
in the course of which he strongly condemned Mr. Cartier 's course 
in the last Parliament, especially with reference to the Grand Trunk 
Railway. When the debate was concluded the Clerk put the question 
to the House : Shall Mr. Cartier be Speaker ? The vote was taken, 
and resulted in the rejection of Mr. Carder's candidature by a 
majority of three, the vote standing 62 to 59. The vote from his 
native Province gave him a majority of nine, but he was left in a 
minority of twelve as regarded the Upper Canadian members. 
Mr. Sicotte's name was next submitted. "The yeas will please 

Currents and Counter-Currents. 301 

rise," remarked the Clerk ; whereupon Mr. Sicotte's supporters 
stood up in their places. They were comparatively few, and it 
was evident that their candidate was beaten. But the proverb 
about the cup and the lip received another exemplification. 
Mr. Hincks had penetrated the tactics of the Opposition, and 
made his calculations accordingly. His own candidate had been 
defeated, and the Ministry were doomed. What then ? At any 
rate his sceptre had not yet departed from him, and he could 
still show his teeth to some purpose. If he was too weak to 
elect Mr. Cartier to the Speakership, he was at any rate powerful 
enough to prevent the election of Mr. Macdonald. He resolved 
that the man who had presented the address to Lord Elgin less 
than three months before an address which had implied a grave 
censure upon the Government should not recline in the Speaker's 
Chair. Not a moment was to be lost. The Clerk had counted 
Mr. Sicotte's supporters, and was just about to call for the nays, 
when the Inspector-General sprang to his feet, and exclaimed: 
" Put me among the yeas." This was the cue to the entire 
body of Ministerialists, who followed their leader's example, and 
declared themselves for Mr. Sicotte. The result was that that 
gentleman was elected by a majority of thirty-five, and that Mr. 
Macdonald was left to derive such satisfaction as he could from the 
dignity of private membership. 

It will thus be seen that Mr. Sicotte's election was brought about 
by the combined votes of the Ministerialists and the Lower Cana- 
dian Opposition namely, the Rouges. The Clear Grits and Upper 
Canadian Conservatives all, or nearly all, were supporters of Mr. 
Macdonald. But the combination of Ministerialists and Rouges was 
purely accidental, and was not significant of any alliance for the 
ordinary purposes of legislation. The Ministerialists still composed 
the most numerous party in the Assembly, but being confronted as 
they unquestionably would have been on all ordinary questions by 

302 The Last Forty Years. 

the combined influence of the Conservatives, Clear Grits and Rouges, 
there was no possibility of their remaining in power. The political 
sympathies of the various branches of the Opposition, wide as the 
poles asunder on every other point, were identical so far as an eager 
desire to overturn the Government was concerned. The situation, 
indeed, bore a close analogy to the political crisis of 1842.* 

The Ministry, however, did not act with undue haste, and resolved 
to gauge the situation thoroughly before tendering their resignations. 
The vote on the Speakership, while it had afforded a plain indica- 
tion of ministerial weakness, could hardly be said to have conclu- 
sively established the extent of that weakness. It would be time 
enough to resign after they should have failed to carry the Address 
in Reply. The House adjourned until the following day, when the 
Governor came down to the Council Chamber and delivered the 
Speech from the Throne. It referred to the increase in the member- 
ship of the Assembly, and to the recently concluded measure of 
reciprocity with the United States, as to which it was suggested 
that the tariff should be remodelled in accordance with the provisions 
of the treaty. Reference was also made to the important concessions 
made to Canada by the mother country in the two Acts passed by 
the Imperial Parliament with respect to the Clergy Reserves and 
the Legislative Council. The subject of the Seigniorial Tenure 
was touched upon, but in a very cautious, non-committal fashion 
which was far from satisfactory to the advocates of root-and-branch 

The Government had by this time become convinced that nothing 
was to be gained by postponing the evil day. Mr. Hincks had hoped 
that he would be able to command a majority of supporters from his 
own section of the Province, and that he would thereby be able to 
reinforce Mr. Morin. That hope had been proved to be baseless by 
the Speakership vote, which, as has been seen, had left Mr. Cartier in a 

1 See ante. Chapter XI. 

Currents and Counter-Currents. 303 

minority of twelve as regarded Upper Canada. Mr. Hincka was thus 
impelled to the conclusion that he would not be justified in remain- 
ing in an Administration with his colleagues from Lower Canada 
when he could not command the confidence of his own section.* 
He was confirmed in this opinion on the evening of the 7th, when 
the Opposition raised a question of privilege and carried it against 
the Government, Dr. Rolph himself voting against his colleagueaf 
No sooner was this result declared than the entire Ministry resolved 
upon an immediate demission of office, a resolution which they 
carried out on the following morning. His Excellency accepted the 
resignations, and thus, on the morning of Friday, the 8th of Septem- 
ber, 1854, the Hincks-Morin Ministry ceased to exist. 

They had been an exceptionally industrious and enterprising 
Government, and were responsible for a great deal of important and 
useful legislation. During their tenure of office the country made 
great and rapid advancement in population, in wealth, and in the 
refining accompaniments of civilized life. Theirs was especially the 
railway era, and out of the projects then set on foot most of the 
important Canadian railway enterprises of more recent times may 
be said to have been developed. They are fully entitled to what- 
ever credit is to be attached to the completion of the Reciprocity 
Treaty with the United States, and to the procuring of the Imperial 
Acts authorizing the Canadian Parliament to deal with the Clergy 
Reserves and the Legislative Council. The Acts extending the 
franchise and providing for an increased representation of the people 
were among the most noteworthy of the measures passed during their 
tenure of office. The Act respecting the Legislative Council, as has 
been seen, had also been passed by the Assembly as a Government 

See Mr. Hincki's speech delivered in the Assembly on the 8th of September, 1854. 

t Dr. Rolph hatl for some time previously shown symptoms of disaffection. He was 
somewhat advanced in life, and not well adapted to discharge the duties incidental to the 
head of a department. He would doubtless have resigned, even had the Government 
remained in power. 

304 Tlie Last Forty Tears. 

measure, but had been prevented from becoming law by the intrac- 
tability of that branch of the Legislature to which it directly 
referred. Owing to the combined influences brought to bear against 
them, the Hincks-Morin Administration were prevented from 
achieving the full fruition of their labours, and their successors were 
enabled to reap the most goodly portion of the crop which they had 
sown. Yet they accomplished sufficient to render the three years 
of their dominion a distinct and well-marked epoch in the Provincial 
annals. At the time of their accession the country was prosperous 
and flourishing. Though their regime was marked by great expen- 
diture of public funds, they left the Provincial finances in a satis- 
factory condition, and the Provincial credit abroad may be said to 
have been for the first time thoroughly established under their 
auspices. They were called upon to grapple with questions as to 
which great divergence of opinion prevailed, and to say that they 
did not succeed in satisfying all parties is merely to say that they 
were neither omniscient nor omnipotent. Their fall was due to 
party combinations rather than to their own inherent weakness, 
and they fell without dishonour. 



" The Government of the country mvtt be carried on. It ovgkt to be carried on with 
vigour. If that can be done in no other way than by mutual concisions and a coalition 
of parties, they become necessary. And those who, under such circumstances, assume the 
arduous duty of becoming parties to them, so far from deserring the opprobrium that is 
too frequently and often too successfully heaped upon them, have, in my opinion, the 
strongest claims upon public sympathy and support." Letter of the Hon. Robert Baldwin 
to the Bon. franca Uinckt, dated 22nd September, 1864. 

HE resignation took place, as already mentioned, on the 
morning of Friday, the 8th of September. Whither was 
the Governor to turn in this emergency ? The ex- 
Ministers still commanded the vote of the most nume- 
rous and powerful of the three parties in the Assembly. 
As a corollary, neither of the other two parties was 
strong enough to stand alone. The Clear Grits and Rouges, though 
strong in talent and energy, were possessed of too little coherence, 
and were moreover too few in number,* to admit of their seriously 
attempting, without aid from one of the other parties, to form an 
Administration which could hope to command public confidence. 
They could look for no aid from the supporters of the ex-Ministry, 
most of whom regarded them as deserters from sound Liberal princi- 
ples, and as political agitators whom it was not safe to entrust with 
power. They could hope for none from the Conservatives, who 
were too little satisfied with the result of their temporary coalition 

Their combined force numbered about 40 members, out of a House of 130. 

306 The Last Forty Tears. 

with them on the question of the Speakership to wish to extend or 
continue that connection. The Conservatives, though not numeri- 
cally formidable, and though not without internal dissensions of 
their own, might be depended upon to vote almost as one v^&n in 
a great Parliamentary emergency. They counted in theh- ranks 
several gentlemen of wide legislative knowledge and experience, 
conspicuous among whom were Sir Allan MacNab, John A. Mac- 
donald and William Cayley. Sir Allan was a Parliamentary 
veteran, and his advice could not fail to be serviceable at such a 
crisis. To him accordingly, as the acknowledged leader of his party, 
Lord Elgin had recourse, and the task of forming an Administration 
was entrusted to his hands. Sir Allan consulted with Mr. Macdonald 
and other leading coadjutors, and in the course of a few hours a 
plan was matured which was afterwards successfully carried out. 

The situation may be briefly summed up in this wise. Respon- 
sible Government being an admitted principle in our constitution, 
no Administration could hold power unless it could command a 
majority of the votes in the Assembly. No new Government could 
hope to command such a majority unless it could obtain the 
support of the old Liberal party in both sections of the Province ; 
that is to say, of the moderate Reformers who had supported the 
policy of the Hincks-Morin Ministry. Now, it was evident enough 
that there could be no alliance between the Clear Grits of Upper 
Canada and the Lower Canadian Liberals who acknowledged the 
leadership of Mr. Morin. At the head of the Clear Grits was Mr. 
Brown, with whom, for reasons already fully explained, no French 
Canadian of moderate views would at that time have allied himself. 
But there was no insuperable antagonism between the French 
Canadian moderates and the Upper Canadian Conservatives ; noth- 
ing to prevent a junction of their Parliamentary forces, "* They 
were indeed in some respects the natural allies of each other, and 
had for several years past been gradually assimilating. True, that 

The Liberal-Conservative Alliance. 307 

very same French Canadian element had, as we have seen,* twice 
refused to enter into such an alliance ; hut years had elapsed since 
then, and the circumstances had undergone a material change. It 
was necessary that a compromise of some sort should be effected, and 
this was the most practicable one that seemed to offer. 

The active mind of Mr. John A. Macdonald was not slow to take 
in these various phases of the situation, and it is commonly under- 
stood that his was the hand that shaped the course of subsequent 
negotiations. Since his entry into Parliament, ten years before, 
he had outgrown many of the party traditions of those times, 
and his mind had undergone a considerable transformation in the 
direction of Liberalism. Here, he perceived, was an opportunity 
for remodelling the Conservative party upon such a basis as might 
not improbably restore a large measure of their ancient prestige, and 
secure them in power for years to come. Some of the old party lines 
must be abandoned, and a policy more in accordance with modern 
ideas must be adopted. The Clergy Reserves, for instance, was a 
question on which Conservatives had from the first taken an uncom- 
promising stand in favour of the ultra pretensions of the Church of 
England. But such an attitude was no longer tenable by a party 
that hoped to secure any considerable share of popular support The 
general elections which had just taken place had proved most incon- 
ibly that the public voice imperatively demanded secularization. 
Many Conservative candidates had gone to the polls pledged to vote 
for secularization in case the public opinion of the Province should 
be unequivocally declared in favour of such a step. Several other 
questions of less importance stood on a similar footing. Nothing 
was more certain than that no stable Government could be formed 
which would not consent to the immediate introduction of a Secu- 
larization Bill as a Government measure. Mr. Macdonald and a 
majority of the most distinguished members of his party deter- 

Anie, pp. 21, 89. 

808 The Last Forty Years. 

mined to make the best of the situation, and bow to the popular 
will. Their views had doubtless undergone modification in the 
course of the interminable debates on the Clergy Reserves. 

-.Sir Allan MacNab, however, had hitherto held consistently by 
the principles which he had always professed, and had refused to 
abandon the cherished convictions of a lifetime at the bidding of 
expediency. The hour had now arrived for him to choose between 
becoming a party to secularization and abandoning the leadership 
to a younger and more liberal-minded man. That Mr. Macdonald 
was the coming leader was already sufficiently apparent, but he was. 
young, and could well afford to wait. Sir Allan had been identified 
with Upper Canadian Conservatism from his youth. During his 
Parliamentary career he had struggled in its behalf with a zeal which 
certainly was not according to knowledge, but which as certainly 
was sincere. Such a man could not now be summarily " shelved " 
or thrown aside ; unless, indeed, he should prove to be thoroughly 
impracticable. The gallant knight had begun to feel the infirmities 
of declining years, but he did not feel those infirmities half so keenly 
as he felt his own waning influence and the growing power of his 
young rival. He well knew that if he refused to do what was 
demanded of him his candlestick would be removed out of its place 
a removal not to be contemplated with an equable mind. After 
much deliberation, he proved open to conviction, and accepted the 
responsibilities of the position. Having resolved himself on this 
point, he had no difficulty in accepting all other conditions, the most 
material of which involved an alliance with the French Canadian 
moderates. He accordingly lost no time in putting himself into 
communication with Mr. Morin, and submitting the project of a 
coalition between the two parties which they respectively repre- 
sented. Mr. Morin, after conferring with some of his political 
friends, returned a favourable answer to the proposal ; and it was 
then agreed that the ex- Ministerialists of Upper Canada should be 

The Liberal-Conservative Alliance. 309 

included in the arrangement. A platform was laid down which 
included the immediate secularization of the Clergy Reserves and 
the passing of a measure regulating the Seigniorial Tenure. Mr. 
Hincks's concurrence was obtained, and he agreed to secure the 
support of his Upper Canadian adherents upon the understanding 
that he himself should have the privilege of naming two members 
of the proposed Administration, by way of security that the plat- 
form agreed upon should be faithfully carried out. The gentlemen 
so named by him were John Ross and Robert Spence. The ex- 
Ministerialist members, as a body, were easily induced to enter into 
the arrangement. Being unable to carry on the Government without 
assistance, it was a mere question with them as to which party they 
should choose for their allies. They upon the whole preferred a 
Conservative alliance to one with the Radicals who had conspired 
to break up the great party to which they belonged, and whose 
policy they regarded as altogether too extreme for the country and 
the times.* 

All negotiations having been completed, the new Government was 
sworn into office on the llth of the month. It contained six mem- 
bers of the late Ministry and four Conservatives. Its composition 
was as follows : 


The Hon. Sir Allan N. MacNab, President of the Council and 
Minister of Agriculture. 

" The question that arose in the minds of the old Liberals was this : Shall we hand 
over the Government of this country to the men who, calling themselves Liberals, have 
broken up the Liberal party by the declaration of extravagant views, by the enunciation 
of principles far more radical and reckless than any we are prepared to accept, and by a 
restless ambition which we cannot approve ? Or shall we not rather unite with the Con- 
servatives, who have gone to the country declaring, in reference to the great questions 
which then agitated it, that if the decision at the polls was against them they would no 
r offer resistance to their settlement, but would, on the contrary, assist in such a 
solution of them as would forever remove them from the sphere of public or political 
agitation? "-Speech of Mr. Thomas White Jr., delivered at L'Orignal, March 6th, 1874. 

310 The Last Forty Years. 

The Hon. John A. Macdonald, Attorney-General West. 

" William Cayley, Inspector-General. 

" Robert Spence, Postmaster-General. 

" John Ross, Speaker of the Legislative Council. 


The Hon. A. N. Morin, Commissioner of Crown Lands. 
" L. T. Drummond, Attorney-General East. 
" P. J. 0. Chauveau, Provincial Secretary. 
" E. P. Tach^, Receiver-General. 
" " J. Chabot, Commissioner of Public Works. 

It will be seen that the Lower Canadian section of the Cabinet 
remained unaffected by the change of Ministry, and that Sir Allan 
MacNab now found himself seated side by side, and in daily frater- 
nal intercourse with, those whom he had stigmatized as " rebels and 
aliens" during the debates on the Rebellion Losses Bill. Mr. 
Dunbar Ross, late Solicitor-General for Lower Canada, was rein- 
stated in that position, and the corresponding office for Upper 
Canada was conferred upon Mr. Henry Smith, member for Fron- 
tenac, and a staunch Conservative. 

The coalition thus formed is known to our history as the Mac- 
Nab-Morin Government. It was acquiesced in by nearly the entire 
Conservative party of both sections of the Province, and by an 
overwhelming majority of the ex-Ministerialists.* It received the 
approval of Robert Baldwin, whose opinions were still regarded 
with respect by the Liberal party generally, and who sent forth, 
from his quiet retreat at Spadina, a cordial letter to Mr. Hincks, in 

* The only member of the late Ministry who disapproved of the new combination was 
Dr. Eolph, who had been regarded as " unsafe " for some time before the resignation. He 
joined the ranks of the Opposition, but was not a specially conspicuous figure there. His 
Parliamentary career came to an end at the close of the then-existing Fifth Parliament, 
when he retired from public life. He survived until the 19th of October, 1870, when he 
died at Mitchell, in the County of Perth, at the advanced age of seventy-eight yars. 

The Liberal-Conservative Alliance. 311 

which that gentleman was declared to have acted with judgment and 
discretion, in the interest of his party and his country. The Grits and 
Rouges felt themselves to have been out-manoeuvred, and, as might 
have been expected, denounced the " unholy alliance " as an utter 
abandonment of principle, owing to the want of accord between the 
political views of the members included in it In spite of the 
strenuous efforts of the Opposition, however, the new Ministers 
were all successful in securing reelection at the hands of their 
respective constituents, and the coalition received the support of a 
large majority of members from each section of the Province. 

One important effect of the coalition was a practical annihilation 
of the two parties which had so long contended for the control of 
public affairs in Canada. The concession of Responsible Govern- 
ment had sounded the death-note of old-time Conservatism, which 
had ever since been dying from sheer inanition. Some of the ante- 
Union Tories clung to old party traditions with a tenacity which 
knew DO abatement, but Mr. Macdonald and the more energetic 
spirits of the party had long perceived that a new departure was 
necessary, and the crisis of 1854 afforded the required opportunity 
for carrying it into effect. The hard-and-fast policy of former days 
was relaxed. It was recognized that Government was made for the 
people, and not people for the Government. The old Tories did not 
surrender without protest, and several of them, including John 
1 1 ill van I Cameron, John W. Gamble and Edmund Murney, refused 
to acquiesce in the new doctrines. But with few exceptions 
modern ideas obtained the mastery. More liberal lines of policy 
were adopted, and the party underwent such a reorganization that it 
retained few vestiges of the Toryism that had been a distinguishing 
feature of the Government which, under varying names and phases, 
held the reins of power from the end of 1843 till the formation of 
the Liberal Administration in March, 1848. The remodelled party 
which then sprang into existence has ever since been known as 

312 The Last Forty Tears. 

Liberal-Conservative. It formed the main strength of the coalition 
Administration of 1854, and for nineteen years thereafter it enjoyed 
an almost uninterrupted lease of power. By degrees it absorbed the 
more Conservative element in the old Liberal party which had 
acknowledged the leadership of Messieurs Baldwin and Lafoutaine. 
The remainder of them were absorbed by the Opposition, and 
the Baldwin-Lafontaine Reformers, as a separate party, practically 
ceased to exist. The adoption by the Liberal-Conservatives of 
the Secularization and Seigniorial Tenure measures left the old 
Reformers without any substantial excuse for a separate and distinct 
existence. Another result of the combination was the virtual extinc- 
tion of the British party in Lower Canada as a separate political body. 
Ever since the Union that party had acted in unison with the Upper 
Canadian Conservatives. They now readily gave in their adhesion 
to the arrangements of the coalition Ministry, and for the future 
voted with the French Canadian majority. 

It was no small thing that had been accomplished under the 
auspices of Mr. Macdonald and his confreres. Some idea of its direct 
results may be derived from the simple statement that whereas 
three-fourths of the Upper Canadian members had been returned in 
the Reform interest, they now found themselves supporting a Gov- 
ernment which had really been brought about by their political 
opponents. And in the event of the Government promptly proceed- 
ing to redeem their pledges pledges which included the whole of 
the ex-Ministerial programme there would be no excuse for with- 
drawing a support which had been voluntarily accorded. As for the 
Lower Canadian Liberals, most of them felt much more at home 
with their new allies than they had ever done with their former ones. 
An alliance between the Upper Canadian Conservatives and the 
Lower Canadian Liberals had indeed long been foreseen, and would 
doubtless have taken place years before this time had it not been 
for the strong personal bond of union between Mr. Baldwin and Mr. 

Ttie Liberal-Conservative Alliance. 313 

Lafontaine. And thus it came about that the coalition Government 
found themselves strong in the support of about two-thirds of the 
entire representation. 

The various clauses of the Address in Reply were carried by large 
majorities. The legislative business was then proceeded with. 
Attorney-General Drummond introduced and carried through a Bill 
giving effect, on behalf of Canada, to the Reciprocity Treaty with 
the United States. Similar measures were soon afterwards passed 
by the Legislatures of the Maritime Provinces, and the treaty 
having also received the approval of the British Parliament 
and the American Congress, it came into effect in March, 1855. 
The other two great measures of the session were the Secu- 
larization and Seigniorial Tenure Bills. The former was introduced 
into the Assembly by Attorney- General Macdonald on the 17th of 
October. It was not precisely such a measure in all its details as the 
Upper Canadian Opposition would have framed. It was, however, 
a wise and statesmanlike piece of legislation, which finally set the 
long-pending dispute at rest, and at the same time paid due respect 
to vested interests. It will be remembered * that the Imperial Act 
of 1840 authorized a sale of the Reserves, and a distribution of the 
proceeds among the various religious bodies in unequal proportions. 
The Provincial measure now passed abolished all distinctions between 
those bodies by depriving them all alike the Church of England as 
well as the rest of any participation in the fund. It was enacted 
that the proceeds arising from all sales should be paid into the 
hands of the Receiver-General, by whom, after the deduction of 
expenses, they were to be apportioned equally among the several 
county and city municipalities, in proportion to population. The 
amount so apportioned was in each case to be paid over to the 
treasurer, chamberlain or other officer having the legal custody of 

21 'Ante, p. 201. 

314 The Last Forty Tears. 

the municipal funds, to form part of the general funds of the muni- 
cipality, and to be applicable to ordinary municipal purposes. The 
annual stipends or allowances which had been charged upon the 
Reserves before the passing (in 1853) of the last Imperial Act on 
the subject were treated as vested interests which the faith of the 
Crown was pledged to support, and provision was accordingly made 
for their continued payment during the lives of existing incumbents. 
The Provincial Government were authorized to commute such sti- 
pends, with the consent of the parties interested, for their value in 
money. The authority was acted upon; and thus was laid the 
foundation for a small permanent endowment an arrangement 
which roused the ire of the Opposition, but against which they 
contended in vain. Such, in brief, was the purport of the Clergy 
Reserves Secularization Act of 1854, which removed one of the 
greatest abuses to which the Province had ever been subjected. 

The Act respecting the Seigniorial Tenure was passed through 
its various stages almost pari passu with that respecting the 
Clergy Reserves. It underwent many and important amendments 
in the Legislative Council, which amendments were accepted by 
the Assembly, so that the measure, as finally passed, bore little 
resemblance to the Bill as originally introduced by Attorney- 
General Drummond. While abolishing all feudal rights and duties in 
Lower Canada, " whether bearing upon the censitaire or the seignior," 
it secured compensation to the latter for the vested rights which 
he had acquired by lapse of time. The Governor was authorized to 
appoint commissioners to enquire into the respective rights of the 
Crown and the seigniors in the various seigniories, and to fix the 
respective values. A tribunal was provided for the determination 
of all questions arising out of the enquiry; and a commutation 
fund was set apart for the indemnification of the despoiled seigniors. 
It may here be added that five years elapsed before the labours of 
the commissioners were completed, whereupon it was found that a 

The Liberal-Conservative Alliance. 315 

small additional appropriation was required. Parliament granted 
the requisite sum, and this was the last of the Seigniorial Tenure. 

The remaining legislation of the session calls for no particular 
remark. With the settlement of the two momentous questions just 
referred to, the last of the great reforms of other days were removed 
from the arena of Parliamentary controversy. The session came to a 
close on the 18th of December, when the Houses adjourned to the 
23rd of the following February. Lord Elgin was just on the eve of 
taking his final departure from the Province, and his successor, Sir 
Edmund Head, had for some time been at Quebec, ready to assume 
his official duties. 

His lordship relinquished the charge of the Government to his 
successor on the day following the adjournment. Three days later 
he set out for England, by way of New York, whence he sailed 
in the steamship Pacific on the 28th. He landed at Liverpool 
on the 9th day of the new year. Soon after his arrival at 
home he received an offer of the Chancellorship of the Duchy 
of Lancaster, with a seat in the Cabinet, but he preferred to 
rest for a season from all official employment, and declined the 
post. He spent the greater part of the next two years in quiet 
retirement at Broomhall, the family seat in Fifeshire. But he 
was too useful a man to be permitted to remain in the obscurity 
of private life. The history of his mission to China and Japan 
in 1857, "58 and '59, is well known through the narrative of his 
secretary, Mr. Lawrence Oliphant Scarcely had he returned from 
this expedition ere he accepted the oifice of Postmaster-General 
in Lord Palmerston's Government. Fresh complications in the 
East rendered necessary a second mission to China on the part 
of his Lordship in the spring of 1860. Having accomplished 
the object of his mission, in conjunction with the emissaries 
of the French Government, by opening Pekin to British diplo- 
macy, ho returned to England in April, 1861. Almost imme- 
diately afterwards the Viceroyalty of India, which Lord Canning 

316 The Last Forty Years. 

was just about to vacate, was offered to him by the Govern- 
ment of the day. So splendid an appointment was not to be 
refused. He quitted England, never to return, towards the close 
of January, 1862. He reached Calcutta in March, and conducted 
the affairs of his Administration about twenty months : a period 
too short to enable him to master all the duties incidental to so 
important a position : but he continued the wise policy which had 
been inaugurated by his predecessor, Lord Canning, and had his 
life been spared he might well have added the crowning sheaf 
to the very high reputation which he had already attained. But he 
was not destined to further achievement. While making a Vice- 
regal progress through the North-West Provinces of India, during 
the autumn of 1863, grave disease of the heart rapidly developed 
itself in his system, and was doubtless seriously aggravated by the 
fatigue to which he was subjected at various stages of his journey. 
He died at Dhurmsala, under the shadow of the Himalayas, on 
the 20th of November, and was buried in the cemetery there, in a 
spot selected, at his request, by Lady Elgin herself. 

His lordship's life was over, and well over. " Perhaps," says a 
sympathetic but discriminating critic,* " the noblest part of the 
history of England is to be found in the recorded lives of those 
who have been her chosen servants, and who have died in that ser- 
vice. Self-control, endurance, and an heroic sense of duty are more 
conspicuous in such men than the love of action and fame. But 
their lives are the landmarks of our race. Lord Elgin, it is true, 
can hardly be ranked with the first of British statesmen, or orators, 
or commanders. His services, great as they unquestionably were, 
had all been performed under the orders of other men. Even 
among his own contemporaries he fills a place in the second rank. 
But happy are the country and the age in which such men are to 
be found in the second rank, and are content to be there." 

See Edinburgh Review, January, 1873. 


Dogbtrry. An two men ride of hone, one mint ride behind. 


. IR EDMUND WALKER HEAD, the new Governor, was 
k a kinsman of Sir Francis Bond Head, whose disastrous 

administration of Upper Canadian affairs nearly twenty 
years before this time had done much to provoke the 
rebellion which broke out in that Province towards the close 
of 1837. Sir Edmund and Sir Francis were descended 
from a common stock ; 

"but there 
I doubt all likeness end* between the pair." 

Sir Francis was a shallow, impulsive, superficial man, who never 
made a study of politics in their widest sense, and whose mental 
tone unfitted him for important public responsibility. Sir Edmund 
was a scholar and a thinker, who had had the advantage of a care- 
ful intellectual training, and had devoted much time to the study of 
politics as a science. He was the only son of the Reverend Sir John 
Head, baronet, Perpetual Curate of Egerton, in Kent, and Rector 
of Raleigh, Essex. He was born near Rochester, Kent, in 1805, 
and was educated at Oriel College, Oxford, where he obtained a 
first-class in classics in 1827. He subsequently became a Fellow of 
Merton College, and in 1834 was appointed a University Examiner, 
in which capacity, as already mentioned,* it fell to his lot to examine 

Ante, pace 218. 

318 TJie Last Forty Years. 

the future Earl of Elgin for a Merton Fellowship. In point of 
scholastic acquirements we have never had a Governor of Canada 
who could seriously claim to be the peer of Sir Edmund Head. He 
was, more especially during his early life, a frequent contributor to 
the periodical press. A clever article of his in the Foreign Quar- 
terly Review is said to have been the means of determining his 
vocation in life, by attracting the attention of the Marquis of Lans- 
downe, who in consequence of it advised him to turn his attention 
to ecclesiastical law. Such advice, from such a quarter, was not to 
be despised, as it implied a tacit promise of patronage. He devoted 
himself industriously to the prescribed course of study, and was 
soon after appointed an Assistant Poor-Law Commissioner, which 
led erelong to a Chief Commissionership at a salary of 2,000 a year. 
Having meanwhile succeeded, upon the death of his father in 1838, 
to the baronetcy, he in the same year married Miss Yorke, a great- 
grand-daughter of Lord Chancellor Hardwicke. He gave much 
attention to colonial affairs, and in 1847 reaped the reward of his 
studies by receiving the appointment of Lieutenant-Governor of 
New Brunswick. This position he retained until his appointment 
as Lord Elgin's successor in September, 1854. He was sworn into 
office on the 19th of December, and thereupon assumed the direc- 
tion of affairs. 

The only matters of importance that occurred before the reas- 
sembling of Parliament were the reconstruction of the Lower 
Canadian section of the Ministry, which took place during the 
last week of January (1855), and the appointment, on the 8th of 
February, of six new Legislative Councillors. The latter consisted of 
Messieurs Ebenezer Perry, of Cobourg, David Morrison Armstrong, 
of Berthier, Benjamin Seymour, of Bath, Eusebe Cartier, of St. 
Hyacinthe, Walter Hamilton Dickson, of Niagara, and Joseph 
Ldgare', of Quebec. These appointments were distasteful to the 
Opposition, as it was well known that the authority conferred by 

-Sir Edmund Head. 319 

the Imperial Act of 1854* would shortly be acted upon, and that 
the Legislative Council would be made an elective body. A more 
important matter, however, was the ministerial reconstruction. The 
state of Mr. Morin's health had for some months past been unsatis- 
factory, and for that and other reasons he was desirous of being 
relieved from the cares of a department. A vacancy occurring on 
the bench of the Superior Court of Quebec afforded him an oppor- 
tunity for a dignified retirement from political life. He availed 
himself of the opportunity, and exchanged the ministerial for the 
judicial bench. As a judge he displayed the same characteristics 
which had always distinguished him in professional and political 
life : namely, great industry, scrupulous integrity and high-minded- 
ness, allied to becoming modesty and a courteous sweetness of dispo- 
sition which endeared him to all who came within the circle of his 
personal influence. He continued to discharge his judicial duties 
until a short time before his death, which occurred near St. Hya- 
cinthe, in June, 1865. 

His retirement from the Ministry took place on the 26th of January. 
Colonel Tache', the Receiver-General, considered that the withdrawal 
of his sectional chief involved the dissolution of that wing of the 
Ministry which had acknowledged allegiance to him. In this view 
all the Lower Canadian Ministers concurred, and they accordingly 
placed their resignations in the hands of the Premier. Sir Allan 
conferred with Colonel Tache", as the senior Lower Canadian Minister, 
who consented to resume his portfolio ; and at their joint request 
Mr. Drummond did the same. Messieurs Chauveau and Chabot did 
not resume office. The Provincial Secretaryship was conferred upon 
Mr. O. E. Cartier, the Commissioner-ship of Public Works upon 
Mr. Francois Lemieux, member for Levis, and the Commissionership 
of Crown Lands, which had just been vacated by Mr. Morin, upon 
M i . Cauchon. Under such circumstances was formed the MacNab- 

Ante, p. 298. 

320 The Last Forty Years. 

Tache Administration, which remained in power without any 
modification until the spring of the following year. 

Messieurs Macdonald and Cartier were now for the first time 
brought together under one ministerial canopy. Their political 
stature had been steadily increasing ever since their entry into 
public life. The former was now the real, although not the nominal 
head of his party in Upper Canada. The latter had come to be 
accepted as the Parliamentary spokesman of a large number of his 
compatriots. The two continued to fight side by side so long as Mr. 
Cartier lived, and the fact that they were able to maintain an almost 
continuous lease of power for so many years must in no small 
degree be attributed to their joint and several personalities. Each 
possessed certain qualifications which the other lacked, and which 
made him specially useful to his coadjutor. Entire confidence sub- 
sisted between them for many years, and the regard of each for the 
other seems to have been high and sincere. 

The prosperity of the Province continued without material abate- 
ment. The various railways in course of construction gave employ- 
ment to an army of labourers, and had the effect of raising the prices 
of the necessaries of life. Expenditure was large, but wages were 
proportionate, and such a thing as abject want was almost unknown. 
The timber trade alone was in a depressed condition. There had 
been a great fall in the price of that commodity in England, owing 
in part to over supply, but chiefly to the Eastern war. This of 
course bore heavily upon that particular branch of Canadian 
industry, but business generally, more especially in Upper Canada, 
was brisk, and there was no apparent scarcity of money. There 
was a steady stream of immigration, and the country was rapidly 
developing. The Eastern conflict was the all-absorbing topic of 
interest. A patriotic fund was organized for the relief of the 
widows and orphans of those soldiers of the allied armies who 
fell in the struggle. It was subscribed to with the utmost liber- 

Sir Edmund Head. 321 

ality, and the sums sent across the ocean swelled to momentous 
proportions.* From time to time the public pulse beat high in 
consequence of intelligence of the fall of Sebastopol having reached 
Canada. On several occasions illuminations glared throughout the 
Province from Gaspe* to Sandwich in token of joy at that long- 
expected event ; and as often the public enthusiasm was checked 
upon its becoming known that hope had told a nattering tale. 
Some months were yet to elapse ere the great event was to be cele- 
brated upon sure intelligence, and with a fervour not less intense 
than was displayed in the mother-land. 

Meanwhile the Provincial Parliament reassembled at Quebec on 
the 23rd of February, 1855, and continued in session more than 
three months. The intervening legislation was of a varied character, 
and consisted of 184 distinct measures. Important reforms were 
effected in the practice of some of the Courts of justice, and in 
the laws relating to the various grades of schools. A new Act 
reforming the municipal and road system of Lower Canada was 
introduced by Attorney- General Drummond, and carried as a Gov- 
ernment measure. Other Acts extended the elective franchise to 
several classes of persons not previously qualified, and made more 
effectual provision for securing the independence of the Assembly. 
One of the most important measures of the session was an Act 
relating to the Provincial militia. Intimation had been received 
from England that, in consequence of the Crimean war, it had 
become necessary to withdraw a part of the Imperial troops from 
Canada. The Province of course had no international quarrels of 
its own, and was not menaced by any outside foes, but it was mani- 
festly desirable that the land should not be left defenceless. The 
Militia Act of 1855 constituted the Governor Commander-in-Chief 
of the Provincial militia, which was divided into two classes, seden- 
tary and active. It was enacted that, subject to certain exemptions 

* Legislative aid wa also granted in the same direction during the ensuing session. 

322 The Last Forty Tears. 

and disqualifications, the sedentary militia should consist of all male 
inhabitants of the Province between eighteen and sixty years 
of age, and that those under forty should be mustered once 
a year. Provision was made for dividing the country into mili- 
tary districts, regimental divisions, and battalion divisions, with 
officers for each. The active militia was to consist of volunteer 
troops of various grades and classes, as to whom minute regu- 
lations were provided. This was the first step towards the 
organization of a regular volunteer force in Canada. While it 
was generally conceded that some legislation on the subject was 
desirable, the Act as passed was unpalatable to the Opposition, 
who contended that it was an attempt to create a standing army, 
one of the greatest curses whereby a free country can be afflicted. 
Among other objections urged against it were the amount of patron- 
age which it must create, and the great expense which would 
necessarily be incurred in carrying out its various provisions. It 
was passed, however, and remained in force about eight years, 
having in the interim been subjected to certain amendments. An 
Elective Legislative Council Bill was again passed by the Assembly 
during this session, only to be again rejected in the Upper House. 
The Seat of Government question also came before the Assembly, 
and gave rise to a long and heated debate. A number of Lower 
Canadian members were desirous of establishing the capital perma- 
nently at Quebec, but the general sense of the House was in 
favour of continuing the alternating system adopted in the autumn 
of 1849, prior to the removal from Montreal to Toronto. The 
motion in favour of retaining the Government at Quebec was 
defeated by a vote of 72 to 41. 

The Grand Trunk Railway Company had long had to contend 
with serious financial and other difficulties. They now applied to 
Parliament for direct pecuniary assistance. Great blunders would 
seem to have been committed at the outset of this great enterprise, 

Sir Edmund Head. 323 

more especially in estimating the working expenses, and in the 
matter of issuing the stock, which had once been quoted at a 
premium, but was now greatly depressed. The character of the 
subscription list and the great wealth of the contractors had 
hitherto enabled the latter to carry on the work of construction 
without interruption ; but a time had now arrived when Provincial 
aid was the only means of avoiding a stoppage. Such a disaster 
was to be averted at any reasonable cost, and the Company received 
a generous grant of 900,000 sterling =84,500,000. This relief 
enabled them to tide over the pressure for the time, though their 
application was repeated, and with success, during the following 
year, when a Board of Audit was empowered to investigate the 
Company's affairs, a knowledge of which had theretofore been 
studiously withheld. 

The rest of the legislation of the session may be passed over 
without comment. The Opposition, though numerically weak, were 
strong in energy and resource. Mr. Brown continued to speak for 
the Clear Grits, and he had a most persistent ally in Mr. Mackenzie. 
Mr. J. S. Macdonald, while acting in concert with Mr. Brown, also 
had a small following of his own, the most conspicuous member of 
it being Mr. M. H. Foley, the member for North Waterloo, already 
mentioned. Mr. A. A. Dorion and Mr. Holton, on behalf of the 
advanced wing of the Lower Canadian Liberals, from time to time 
hurled effective diatribes against the Administration. So that the 
session as a whole was a lively, as well as a productive one. Par- 
liament was prorogued by the Governor on the 30th of May. 

During the year 1855 Mr. Hincks severed, for a time, his connection 
with Canadian affairs. He supported the coalition Government all 
through the session, and frequently spoke in defence of their policy. 
Within a few weeks after the prorogation he paid a visit to his native 
land, and thence passed over to London to confer with Messrs. Baring 
& Glyn with reference to certain financial projects. During his stay 

324 The Last Forty Tears. 

in London he entered upon arrangements for accepting a position 
of responsibility in connection with the Grand Trunk Railway; 
but before completing the negotiation he received from Sir William 
Molesworth, who was now Colonial Secretary,* the appointment of 
Governor of Barbadoes and the Windward Islands. Having accepted 
this high and honourable position, he returned to Canada, and soon 
afterwards, accompanied by his family, sailed from Boston for the 
seat of his future Government, whither it is unnecessary that we 
should follow him. We shall encounter him again before the nar- 
rative is brought to a close. 

So far as the internal affairs of the Province were concerned, the 
summer and autumn of 1855 passed uneventfully away. The only 
public questions which produced any agitation were those respecting 
the Seat of Government and the elective Legislative Council, and 
even those were attended with very little excitement. There was 
exuberant rejoicing over the fall of Sebastopol in September, and 
the progress of the Eastern conflict to its close was watched in 
Canada with an absorbing interest. The era of prosperity con- 
tinued. There was a perceptible tightening in the money market 
in consequence of the Crimean war, and the timber trade of the 
Province was still in a very depressed condition ; but the season's 
harvest had been abundant, and the high price of grain and pro- 
visions rendered the year one of signal prosperity for the thrifty 
farmers of Upper Canada. Among the prominent railway develop- 
ments of 1855 may be mentioned the opening of the Grand Trunk 
from Montreal to Brockville, of the Great Western from Toronto to 
Hamilton, and of the extension of the Northern to Collingwood. 

* Lord Aberdeen's Cabinet had resigned office at the end of the preceding January, and 
had been succeeded by a Ministry formed under the auspices of Lord Palmerston, in 
which the Right Hon. Sidney Herbert held the Colonial Secretaryship. After holding 
office three weeks, Mr. Herbert resigned, and was succeeded by Lord John Russell, who 
retained the portfolio until the 13th of July, when he was succeeded by Sir William 
Molesworth. Sir William died during the following October, and was succeeded by the 
Hon. Henry Labouchere. 

Sir Edmund Head. 325 

Four sessions of Parliament having by this time been held at 
Quebec, the Government offices were removed to Toronto during 
the month of October, and the Governor-General took up his resi- 
dence there early in November.* Towards the close of the year 
there were rumours of internal dissensions in the Cabinet, but the 
advent of 1856 found that body intact, and to all appearance strong 
in the enjoyment of public confidence. About this time the agita- 
tion on what soon after came to be known as the Separate School 
question began to make itself distinctly heard. The Opposition 
disapproved of having separate schools provided out of the public 
chest for the children of Roman Catholics and Protestants; and 
indeed disapproved of theological teaching in secular schools alto- 
gether. The Roman Catholic population believed that theology 
ought to form an essential part of educational training, and, of 
course, the only theology they desired to have taught to their 
offspring was that inculcated by their own priesthood. The Govern- 
ment party, which was largely dependent upon the Lower Canada 
Roman Catholic vote, were obliged to pay some deference to the 
more restricted view. They defended the principle that a man who 
conscientiously believes that religion and education should go hand 
in hand is entitled to have his convictions respected and even, to 
some extent, to have them supported out of those public funds 
whereof he contributes his share. The cry of the Opposition 
gained strength with time, and, jointly with that of Representa- 
tion by Population, was destined to become an important factor in 
the elections. 

The old structure on the site of the present Government House, on the corner of King 
and Siincoe Streets, had been fitted up for his Excellency's occupation, and here he abode 
during his stay in Toronto. It bad been known as "Government House" more than 
forty years before, having been purchased from Chief Justice Elmsley soon after the 
destruction of the official residence of the Governor by the explosion of the powder maga- 
zine during the American invasion of York, in April, 1813. It had successively been the 
official residence of Francis Gore, Sir Peregrine Maitland, Sir John Colborne, and Sir 
F. B. Head. 

826 The Last Forty Years. 

When the second session of the Fifth Parliament was opened at 
Toronto, on the loth of February, 1856, the country generally was in 
a state of profound political calm. All the old vexed questions had 
been disposed of, and the new ones had not as yet gathered sufficient 
force to create widespread disturbance in the public mind. Owing 
to the large increase in the membership of the Assembly since the 
last meeting of the Legislature at Toronto, a good deal of additional 
accommodation had become necessary, and the Parliament Buildings 
on Front Street had recently undergone considerable internal trans- 
formation. The space formerly allotted to the public had been 
encroached upon to such an extent that only a few benches were 
left at the west entrance for the accommodation of members of 
the Legislative Council and other privileged visitors. The Council 
Chamber had been decorated and furnished anew, and presented au 
aspect of almost imperial splendour, insomuch that the Governor 
privately remarked that Responsible Government had not oblit- 
erated the respect of Canadians for the trappings of sovereignty.* 
The opening Speech was cautious and non-committal to an uncom- 
mon degree, and gave no hint of startling or novel legislation, for 
the all-sufficient reason that none was contemplated. The Houses 
were congratulated upon the settlement of the Clergy Reserves and 
Seigniorial Tenure questions, and upon the general prosperity 
which prevailed throughout the land. It was intimated that the 
Legislative Council Bill would again be presented, and that a 
measure for the organization of a Provincial Police was in con- 
templation. There were also hints of legal reforms, a general 
incorporation Act, and an Act respecting juvenile offrnder.s. 
These, in addition to a few generalities of little moment, made up 

* Sir Edmund Head was at this time in his fifty-first year. A contemporary accouut 
describes him as of full height and habit, with a rather tirm, not to say stern expression 
of countenance. His complexion was somewhat darkened by the use of nitrate of silver 
as a remedy for epilepsy, to which he was subject. 

Sir Edmund Head. 327 

the sum total of the ministerial programme, as outlined in the 
Speech from the Throne. 

Various amendments, of no historical significance, were proposed 
to the Address in Reply, but the Opposition were not strong enough 
numerically to do more than retard public business. After being 
under discussion for more than a week, the various clauses of the 
ministerial Address were carried by sweeping majorities. In the 
course of the debate an extraordinary passage of arms came off 
between Attorney-General Macdonald and Mr. Brown. The latter 
was the most vehement, and in some respects the most effective 
speaker in the Assembly. While by no means graceful in his 
bearing or eloquent in his diction, he spoke with such an air of 
deep and earnest conviction that, on any question in which he was 
greatly interested, it was impossible to listen to him unmoved. 
His torrents of invective and objurgation were at times over- 
whelming. On the night of Tuesday, the 26th of February, while 
the debate on the Address was still in progress, he was taunted 
with having changed his political views since the last general 
election, when he had, both personally and in his newspaper, vigor- 
ously supported persons whom he now assailed. The reference 
was specially to the elections of Sir Allan MacNab, John A. 
Macdonald and Mr. Cayley, all of whom had received the Globe's 
support in opposition to candidates favourable to Mr. Hincks's 
policy. It must be admitted that Mr. Brown's course in this 
respect had not been marked by that perfect consistency on which 
he was wont to pique himself; although, on the other hand, it 
was legitimately open to him to argue that his change of base 
had been produced by the altered political relations of Messieurs 
MacNab, Macdonald and Cayley, who had coalesced with persons 
whose policy they had previously denounced. But inconsistency 
was of all charges the most intolerable to the mind of Mr. Brown, 
and upon being taken to task on that score by some of the speakers 

328 The Last Forty Years. 

on the ministerial side his indignation knew no bounds. He had 
not been speaking five minutes ere he had succeeded in lashing 
himself into a white heat. He indulged in a tremendous onslaught 
on what he characterized as the kaleidoscopic politics of some of the 
members of the Government ; and he specially instanced the case of 
the Attorney-General West and the Postmaster-General. Anger 
begets anger; and Mr. Macdonald, stung by the cutting words as they 
poured hot from the speaker's lips, was roused to a condition of 
temper which impelled him to forget the pleasant urbanity which 
generally marked his demeanour, alike to friends and foes. When 
he rose to reply to Mr. Brown it was evident that he was labouring 
under wild excitement. He launched forth into a tirade which 
electrified the House, and caused even the least scrupulous of Parlia- 
mentary sharpshooters to stand aghast. He accused the member for 
Lambton of having falsified testimony, suborned convict witnesses, 
and obtained the pardon of murderers in order to induce them to 
give false evidence. These grave delinquencies were alleged to have 
been committed by Mr. Brown while acting as Secretary to a 
Commission appointed in 1848 to investigate certain alleged 
abuses in connection with the Provincial Penitentiary at Kings- 
ton. Such foul charges had never before been laid against any 
member on the floor of a Canadian Parliament, and the aston- 
ished legislators gazed in one another's faces in a state of mingled 
bewilderment and incredulity. When Mr. Macdonald took his seat 
Mr. Brown once more arose, tremulous with excitement, to repel 
the accusations made against him. No one who knew the member 
for Lambton would have expected him, under such circumstances, 
to carefully choose his words ; and in good sooth he spoke in lan- 
guage akin to that employed by Faulconbridge to the Dauphin of 
France. He was frequently interrupted by Mr. Macdonald, whose 
impassioned and spasmodic utterances seemed to have been culled 
from the Athanasian Creed. Like Roland and Sir Leoline, 

" Each spake words of high disdain." 

Sir Edmund Head. 329 

The excitement became general, and rose to fever heat. The very 
atmosphere of the Assembly seemed to be charged with electricity, 
and the Speaker twice called the offenders to order. Suddenly each 
of the Parliamentary gladiators seemed to realize the position in 
which he stood, and the storm subsided as quickly as it had arisen. 
Mr. Brown almost immediately afterwards concluded his remarks, 
which he was permitted to do without further interruption. He 
contented himself with declaring that the charges had not a vestige 
of truth in them ; that he had taken down the Attorney -General's 
words ; and that he would hold him responsible for them. He also 
announced that he would on the following day move for a Com- 
mittee of Inquiry. Then he resumed his seat. It was felt that 
calm deliberation was for the nonce out of the question, and the 
House broke up for the day. 

Until the meeting of the House on the following afternoon, noth- 
ing was talked of but the extraordinary ebullition of the night 
before. Mr. Brown, according to his announcement, moved for 
a Committee, and the debate on the motion occupied the greater 
part of the sitting. The Attorney-General, in the course of 
the discussion, admitted that he had spoken under great excite- 
ment, and that he had no personal knowledge as to the truth 
or falsity of the charges he had made. He justified his 
attack, however, upon the ground that his feelings had been 
grievously wounded by the assaults made upon him by Mr. Brown, 
and that his information as to that gentleman's conduct as a mem- 
ber of the Penitentiary Commission had been derived from sources 
which he was compelled to regard as trustworthy. The Committee 
was granted, and sat at intervals throughout the greater part of the 
session. The seven gentlemen composing it were unable to come to 
a unanimous decision, and finally handed in two separate reports. 
That of the majority was a non-committal document which could 
not have been very satisfactory to either of the persons chiefly con- 

330 The Last Forty Years. 

cerned. It did not find Mr. Brown guilty of any of the offences 
with which he had been charged, but on the other hand it did not 
exonerate him. With respect to the charge of falsifying evidence, 
it was found that the Penitentiary Commissioners, when compiling 
their report from the mass of evidence taken, had omitted certain 
passages favourable to the defence, and that, to such an extent, 
there had been falsification. This, however, which might fairly be 
attributed to an error of judgment, was the act of the Commis- 
sioners as a whole, and not of Mr. Brown only.* The charge of 
having suborned witnesses was wholly unsustained by the evidence, 
and that of having procured the pardon of murderers was attempted 
to be sustained by such testimony as did not call for any serious 
attempt at rebuttal. The minority report embodied a total excul- 
pation of Mr. Brown. The presentation of the two reports to the 
Assembly gave rise to protracted debates, and Parliament was pro- 
rogued without any decisive action having been taken in the matter. 
Its consideration was never resumed. 

The personal hostility engendered at this time between Mr. 
Macdonald and Mr. Brown was never entirely allayed. Lapse of 
time doubtless did something to mitigate the rigour of their impres- 
sions, and when accident or public business brought them into 
personal relations with each other they were mutually able to 
maintain a semblance of frigid courtesy and respect. Years after- 
wards, as will be seen, "when they had both grown older, and 
(presumably) wiser, they agreed to sink their differences for the 
common welfare of the country ; but the temporary peace patched 
up between them was solely for the accomplishment of a special 
public object, and had little or no effect in obliterating the memory 
of their long-standing personal feud. 

*"How far Mr. Brown, who conducted the affairs of the Commission, and in fact was 
the Secretary also, was to blame separately from his colleagues, your Committee express 
DO opinion." See the Report. 

Sir Edmund Bead. 331 

The altercation between Mr. Macdonald and Mr. Brown took 
place, as above stated, on the 26th of February, when the session 
was only a few days old. It proved to be only the first of a succes- 
sion of unedifying scenes which marked the proceedings in the 
Assembly during the session of 1856. Personal allusions, and even 
personal insults, erelong came to be freely bandied across the floor 
of the House, and on several occasions the Speaker had to put forth 
the weight of his authority to prevent actual breaches of the peace. 
On the 16th of April, during a debate on the Seat of Government 
question, a most unseemly passage of wordy warfare took place be- 
tween Attorney-General Macdonald and Mr. Rankin,* member for 
Essex. Some very un-Parliamentary language having been used on 
both sides, it was anticipated that the fracas must inevitably end in 
a personal encounter at ten paces. It was in contemplation to place 
both the belligerents in the custody of the Sergeant-at-Arms, but 
after a long discussion on the subject in the House, they were 
induced to pledge themselves not to push the matter any farther, 
and there it was allowed to drop. 

But quarrels between political foes were not the only disturbing 
elements that occurred to interrupt the harmony of the Legislature 
during this stormy session. It soon became apparent that there was 
not perfect unanimity between the members of the Cabinet, and 
that the ante-sessional rumours as to internal troubles had not been 
without foundation. The truth of the matter was that the Liberal- 
Conservative party, more especially that portion which had once 
owned allegiance to Mr. Hincks, were dissatisfied with the leader- 
ship of Sir Allan MacNab, and desired to see a younger and more 
energetic man installed in his place. There could be no difference 
of opinion as to who the successor should be. Mr. Macdonald was 

* Mr. llankin had recently received from the Government the appointment of Colonel 
Commandant of the Western Militia District. He wai, and it, commonly known a> 
Colonel llankin. 

332 The Last Forty Tears. 

the ablest Parliamentarian in the Liberal-Conservative ranks, and 
was looked up to as their leading spirit. As for Sir Allan, he had 
never possessed abilities of a high order, and had only been per- 
mitted to retain the leadership up to this time in consequence of his 
seniority, and his long and unquestionable fidelity to his party. More- 
over, infirmities begotten of old age and a too generous diet had of 
late given unmistakable evidences of their presence. He suffered 
from excruciating attacks of gout, and was sometimes compelled to 
be absent from his place in the Assembly and in the Executive 
Council. During the progress of the session his absences became 
so frequent as to prove a source of embarrassment to the Min- 
istry of which he was the head. Towards the end of March 
a caucus of the more advanced Ministerialists was accordingly 
held, and it was resolved that Mr. Macdonald should be leader. 
This step, it was believed, would induce Sir Allan's immediate 
resignation ; but it erelong appsared that the belief was too 
sanguine for the facts. For a time, indeed, it seemed that the 
cabal had accomplished nothing beyond a serious breach in their 
party. Sir Allan was highly indignant at the means which had 
been resorted to to undermine him, and denounced Mr. Macdonald 
in terms which must in all charity be at least in part attributed 
to the grievous malady with which he was afflicted a malady 
which is a severe tax even upon the most equable temper. He 
felt strong in his position as Premier, and refused to resign at 
the bidding of anybody. He well knew that a Premier is liable to 
dismissal at the hands of the Governor alone, and that his followers 
had no direct means of unseating him. Such of his colleagues as 
were hostile to him might resign office, and thus bring on a minis- 
terial crisis ; but he would then be left free to reconstruct his 
Cabinet, and might possibly succeed in doing so without their aid. 
In that case they would have simply turned themselves out of office, 
for it might safely be taken for granted that Sir Allan would not 
reinstate any one of them. 

Sir Edmund Head. 333 

The cabal, however, proved too much for the valetudinarian 
knight. All the ministerial press, with the exception of the 
Hamilton Spectator and the Toronto Colonist, opened fire upon him. 
He was informed, in no mealy-mouthed phrases, that his services as 
leader of his party were no longer either necessary or desirable. 
When he perceived that his day was over, he tried to compromise 
matters by having his friend, Mr. John Hillyard Cameron, installed 
in the leadership, instead of Mr. Macdonald. Mr. Cameron was very 
willing to have greatness thrust upon him, and seconded the efforts 
of his leader. While these machinations were in progress the minis- 
terial party were much disorganized, and were in sooth in a critical 
position, as the Opposition failed not to take advantage of every 
turn of the Parliamentary wheel in their favour, and thundered 
away night after night at the Treasury benches with ceaseless 
importunity. Suddenly, and not without surprise, the Government 
found themselves defeated on a public question of some importance, 
arising out of what was known as the Corrigan murder. On the 
17th of October, 1855, a Protestant named Robert Corrigan had been 
murdered by a crowd of ruffians assembled at a cattle fair, in the 
parish of St. Sylvestre, in the county of Lotbiniere, Lower Canada. 
In the following February Richard Kelly and six other Irish Roman 
Catholics were placed on trial for the murder. The trial took place 
in the Court of Queen's Bench, at Quebec. The jury was entirely 
composed of Roman Catholics, and Judge Duval, who presided, was 
of the same faith. The trial lasted some days, and a mass of evidence 
was taken. There could not well have been a clearer case, and there 
surely could have been no doubt in the mind of any one who heard 
the evidence as to the guilt of the prisoners. The murder was 
attended by circumstances of the most revolting brutality, and one 
cannot read the report of the trial, even at this distance of time, 
without horror and disgust. Yet, in defiance of the plainest 
viilence, the jury returned a verdict of "Not Guilty," and the 

334 The Last Forty Tears. 

prisoners were acquitted. Such a miscarriage of justice might well 
create a sensation. Throughout Western Canada the outcry was 
loud and deep. It was said that there was no law for the Protestants 
of the Lower Province, and that their lives were at the mercy of 
their Roman Catholic fellow-subjects. The press, headed by the 
Globe, took the matter up with tremendous fervour, clamouring 
for the formation of a new party to guard the interests of Protest- 
ants, and to oppose Romish domination. The excitement penetrated 
to all classes of society, and the public mind had not been so stirred 
since the debates on the Rebellion Losses Bill. On the night of 
Friday, the 7th of March, Mr. John Hillyard Cameron brought the 
matter before the Assembly by moving for an address to the Gover- 
nor for the production of a copy of Judge Duval's charge, which, as 
Mr. Cameron alleged, "contained statements which could hardly 
have been made by any man who had anything like a fair acquaint- 
ance with the manner in which the criminal law ought to be 
administered." Such a very positive expression as this, emanating 
from a gentleman who was perhaps the ablest criminal lawyer ever 
known to the Canadian bar, produced a decided effect upon the 
House. The Ministry found themselves on the horns of an unplea- 
sant dilemma. The Lower Canadian members to whom they looked 
for support were opposed to any reflection on Judge Duval's wisdom 
and integrity. The Upper Canadians, Conservatives as well as 
Reformers, were almost to a man in favour of Mr. Cameron's motion. 
The Ministry, after deliberation, refused to sanction the proceeding, 
and took the ground that to order the production of Judge Duval's 
charge would be to infringe upon the independence of the judi- 
ciary. The motion came up on the night of the 10th three days 
after its first introduction and c,fter being fully debated on both 
sides, was carried against the Ministry by a vote of 48 to 44. All the 
Upper Canadian ministerialists voted for the motion, with the 
exception of Dr. Clarke, member for North Wellington, and Mr. 

Sir Edmund Head. 335 

James Ross, member for East Northumberland. This was an un- 
mistakable defeat. Attorney-General Drummond hurriedly moved 
an adjournment of the House. 

Next day, after the transaction of some routine business, Mr. 
Drummond, on behalf of the Government, asked for a further 
adjournment for two days, in order that Ministers might have 
time to deliberate upon what was to be done under the circum- 
stances. He announced that the address involved in Mr. Cameron's 
motion had not been presented to his Excellency, and gave notice 
that he would move to rescind it. The interval before the next 
meeting of the House was employed by the Government in mar- 
shalling their forces, and in bringing into line such recalcitrant 
members as were accessible to ministerial influence. In spite of all 
that could be done, however, it was brought home to the Govern- 
ment that on the motion to rescind they would inevitably be 
beaten. It was therefore arranged that they should agree to pre- 
sent the address to his Excellency, and that a friendly member should 
move a vote of confidence in the Ministry. This plan was carried 
out, and it was made apparent that the Government were supported 
by a majority; whereupon Mr. Drummond announced that under 
the circumstances they did not feel called upon to resign. This 
ended the crisis for the time. The address was duly presented 
to the Governor, who, by the advice of his Ministers, responded in 
a message to the effect that Judge Duval's charge was not in his 
possession ; that it could not be assumed to exist ; that even if it 
did exist the Governor had not power to enforce its production ; and 
that to call a judge to account in the manner indicated would be 
" at least an evasion " of the spirit of the Act to secure the inde- 
pendence of the Judges of Lower Canada. 

But the position of the Ministry was far from satisfactory, and 
some change was imperative. They never entirely recovered 
from the effects of the hostile vote on the Corrigan matter. On the 

336 The Last Forty Years. 

18th of April the Hon. John Ross resigned the Speakership of the 
Legislative Council, and ceased to be a member of the Government. 
The reason assigned by him for his resignation was the dissatisfac- 
tion expressed by the Reform ministerial members of Upper Canada 
at the existing state of affairs in the Government. A deputation 
had recently waited upon him on behalf of those members, and had 
notified him that they must no longer be depended upon to support 
Government measures. The coalition, they declared, had been 
formed for the specific object of settling the Clergy Reserves and 
Seigniorial Tenure questions. That object having now been accom- 
plished, they could see no reason for continuing an alliance with 
such a scion of the Family Compact as Sir Allan MacNab, who, 
they alleged, had never been an efficient leader, even when he was 
in good health, and who now, by reason of his frequent illness, had be- 
come a mere drag upon public business. With such a man at their 
head, they averred, no Administration could prove itself equal to 
the exigencies of the times. Of course, Mr. Ross, in his explana- 
tions in the Upper House, did not enter into all these details, 
but contented himself with merely stating that he had resigned 
because the confidence of the Upper Canadian Reformers had been 
withdrawn. He was succeeded in the Speakership of the Council 
by Colonel Tach^, who also retained the post of Receiver-General. 
Mr. J. C. Morrison was at the same time admitted to a seat in 
the Cabinet without portfolio. Having always been identified 
with the same political party as Mr. Ross, it was believed by the 
Ministry that Mr. Morrison's admission to their Council Board 
would, so to speak, restore the balance of power, and allay the 
dissatisfaction of the Upper Canadian Reformers. Public opinion, 
however, was very much divided, and while (as was ultimately 
proved) Mr. Morrison's entrance into the Ministry was approved 
by a majority of his constituents in Niagara, there were many 
Reformers throughout the Province who found fault with him. 

Sir Edmund Head. 337 

Early in May a rumour began to get abroad that there was 
trouble in the Lower Canada section of the ministerial camp, and 
that Mr. Cauchon had threatened resignation. The ground of 
offence in his case was the North Shore Railway. The inhabitants 
of the north shore of the St Lawrence between Quebec and 
Montreal were desirous of having a railway through their terri- 
tory, and extending thence westward up the Ottawa. The lavish 
Government aid extended to the Grand Trunk led them to hope 
for similar liberality towards their own cherished enterprise. Mr. 
Cauchon had strongly sympathized with this view of the matter, 
and had held out high expectations to his followers. In order 
to justify these expectations he had put forth the weight of his 
power in the Ministry to forward his object ; but, notwithstand- 
ing his urgency, he had been unable to obtain ministerial con- 
currence in his views. He then became restive, and threatened 
resignation. As he had a following of eighteen members, such a 
threat was too serious to be disregarded, and he was permitted to 
introduce and carry through a measure whereby four millions of 
acres of ungranted lands of the Crown were set apart, to be handed 
over to the railway company so soon as at least twenty-five miles 
of the contemplated road should be completed. Mr. Cauchon's 
secession was thus averted for the time, but, as will hereafter be 
seen, for the time only. 

Meantime Sir Allan continued to be laid up with gout, and the 
ministerial cabal from time to time renewed its operations against 
him. But he still felt strongly entrenched, and stood upon his rights. 
He could not be summarily turned adrift. Evidently the only 
means of disposing of him was to compel his resignation, and the 
prospect of accomplishing this feat was not hopeful But the fates 
wore propitious to his foes. Reference has been made to the Seat 
of Government question. The perambulating system had not been 
found satisfactory. It was attended with much expense and in- 

338 Tin, Last Forty Tears. 

convenience, and would sooner or later have to be relinquished 
in favour of a permanent capital. On the 14th of April Mr. John 
Sandfield Macdonald brought the matter before the Assembly in 
the form of a motion in favour of discontinuing the alternate sys- 
tem. The motion was carried, and on the IGth, after a long and heated 
discussion, the House resolved, by a vote of 64 to 5G, that after 
the year 1859 Quebec should be the permanent capital of Canada. 
Of course, nearly all the Upper Canadian members were dissatisfied 
with this arrangement. As events turned out, however, the decision 
afforded the ministerial cabal the desired opportunity for displacing 
their chief. On the 14th of May, when certain supplementary 
estimates for the year had been brought down and placed before the 
Assembly, it appeared that there was an item of 50,000 for the 
erection of public buildings at Quebec. Mr. Brown moved that it 
was inexpedient to vote this sum for the purpose specified. His 
motion was objected to in point of form, and the objection was sus- 
tained by the Speaker. Several other motions to a similar purport 
shared the same fate. The Ministry, however, suggested that the 
Opposition might, if so disposed, bring the question before the 
House by a direct vote of want of confidence. The suggestion 
was promptly acted upon by Mr. Papin, member for L'Assomp- 
tion. When that gentleman's motion came up, on the following 
day, Mr. Holton, with Mr. Papin's consent, moved an amend- 
ment to the same effect, but somewhat more comprehensive 
in its terms.* The discussion on this amendment, which began 
on the loth of the month, lasted till late on the night of 
Tuesday, the 20th, when, after a continuous sitting of thirty-two 
hours, the amendment was defeated by a vote of 70 to 47. But 
on analyzing the votes it was found that there were no fewer than 

* Mr. Helton's motion was as follows : " That the course of the Administration with 
reference to the question of the Seat of Government, and other important public ques- 
tions, has disappointed the just expectations of the great majority of the people of this 
Province." See Assembly Journals l">th May, 1856. 

Sir Edmund Head. 339 

thirty-three Upper Canadians among the minority, whereas only 
twenty-seven from that section of the Province had voted with the 
Government. The Opposition, then, had defeated the Government 
by an Upper Canadian majority of six ; and only five Upper Cana- 
dian members were absent from the vote. This raised a direct issue 
as to the necessity for a double majority. That question had never 
been definitively settled. It had been first mooted during the 
old days of Executive irresponsibility, but had never obtained 
acquiescence from Reformers, nor even from the Conservatives as 
a whole. In principle it was foreign to the constitution, and 
could not be supported even as a mere theory.* Upper and Lower 
Canada were united as one Province, with a single Parliament legis- 
lating for the whole. It was sufficient if the Government received 
the support of a majority in the Assembly, without regard to the par- 
ticular locality represented by the supporters. A double majority 
had not been regarded as a necessity by Mr. Baldwin, as had been 
sufficiently proved by the very factor which various Canadian 
writers have put forward as a proof that he did so regard it ; 
namely, the circumstances of his resignation in 1851. It has 
repeatedly been asserted that his resignation was due to his 
adherence to the double majority principle; whereas, if he had 
regarded such a principle as binding he would not only have 
n -signed himself, but would have approved of the resignation of 
his colleagues from Upper Canada.f But, so far from approving 
their resignation, he strongly urged them to remain in office. The 
motives which reajly swayed Mr. Baldwin at this juncture have 
been sufficiently explained in a former chapter. J That Mr. 

Sea the remarks of the Hon. J. A. Macdonald In the Ascmbly, on Friday, June 3rd, 
1850, u reported in the newspaper! of the time, 

t Mr. J. S. Macdonald snems to have either misunderstood or affected to misunder- 
stand Mr. Baldwin's position. See the series of resolutions moved by him in the 
Assembly, June 3rd, 1856. 

t A nle, pp. 236. 237. 

340 The Last Forty Tears. 

Hincks did not regard a double majority as an essential had been 
established by the fact of his yielding to Mr. Baldwin's represen- 
tations, and retaining office when his leader resigned. Advocates 
of the other side of the question, however, were provided with a 
strong practical argument. The fact was undeniable that the 
Government of Canada could not be satisfactorily carried on by 
means of a majority of one section and a minority of the other. 
An agitation for a repeal of the Union would be the inevitable out- 
come of such a proceeding. The question, then, was an open one, 
and the Ministry, during the crisis of 1856, were free to act as to 
them might seem best. Their Chief was suffering from one of his 
sharpest attacks, and was not in a position to either direct or inter- 
fere with their deliberations. He seemed to have been, by a special 
dispensation, delivered over to their hands. They concluded to 
uphold the double majority principle, and thus, by the only means 
in their power, get rid of Sir Allan, who, like a veritable Old Man 
of the Sea, hung like an incubus upon the ministerial neck. They 
felt that, divested of their head, they would be able to command a 
safe majority in the Assembly. They were now convinced that in 
the event of their resignation Sir Allan by himself could do nothing, 
in which case the Governor would be constrained to have recourse 
to them. They would be able to reconstruct the Government with- 
out the gallant knight from Hamilton, and would be relieved from 
much of the embarrassment which beset them. 

These projects were successfully carried out. Not, however, 
without protest on the part of Sir Allan. Messrs. Spence and Mor- 
rison, the Upper Canadian Reform representatives in the Ministry, 
having notified his Excellency of their intention of immediately 
resigning, their example was followed by Attorney-General Mac- 
donald and Inspector-General Cayley. The Governor accordingly 
signified to Sir Allan and the other members his conviction that it 
would be impossible to replace those gentlemen " in such a manner 

Sir Edmund Head. 341 

as to maintain the efficiency of the Council, on the principle on 
which it had originally been formed." Sir Allan was at no loss to 
understand the broad hint conveyed in this intimation. Neither 
had he any difficulty in understanding the tactics of his Upper 
Canadian colleagues. But he saw no means of either ignoring the 
one or counteracting the other. He was racked with pain and under- 
mined in health ; " an old man, broken with the storms of state," 
and hot podagra. He made the best of the situation, and submitted 
On the 21st of May the Governor was apprised that Sir Allan and 
the other members of the Council, " though not recognizing a sec- 
tional majority as a sufficient reason for a change of Government," 
yet considered that they had no alternative but to place their offices 
at his Excellency's disposal. Next day the Governor accepted the 
resignations, to take effect from the appointment of new Coun- 
cillors.* He then applied to Colonel Tache, as the senior Executive 
Councillor, and entrusted him with the formation of a Ministry, a 
task which was soon accomplished. All the readjustments were 
finally complete on the 24th Her Majesty's birthday and on that 
date the TachtS-Macdonald Government, as it is called, came into 
power. It contained only two new members, Messieurs Philip 
Michael Matthew Scott Vankoughnet and Timothy Lee Terrill. 
The latter was a lawyer by profession, and a man of average abili- 
ties. He had been a member of the old British party in Lower 
Canada, and in 1849 had been connected with the annexation move- 
ment. He had first entered political life in November, 1852, when 
he had been elected to the Assembly for Stanstead, which constitu- 
ency he had represented ever since. He now succeeded Mr. Cartier 

* In the memorandum of Acceptance the Governor expressly stated that he did not 
admit or unction the doctrine of a double or sectional majority as necessary to a Govern- 
ment in Canada. He further referred to the doctrine as "irrational," and one which, if 
carried out, " might involve the consequence of a Ministry being obliged to resign, 
although the party by whom they had bean defeated did not and could not possess the 
confidence of the Legislative Assembly." 

342 The Last Forty Years. 

as Provincial Secretary, and he was the only person of British stock 
in the Lower Canadian section of the new Cabinet. Mr. Vankough- 
net, the other new member, was a much abler man, though he was 
at this time devoid of political experience, and had never even been 
a candidate for a seat in Parliament. He was of German descent, 
but a Canadian by birth, having been born at Cornwall, Upper 
Canada, in 1823. He was at this time one of the leaders of the 
Upper Canadian bar, and resided at Toronto, where he enjoyed a 
large and lucrative practice, and was known as one of the most 
brilliant men in the profession. In 1850 he had been appointed a 
Queen's Counsel by the second Lafontaine-Baldwin Government, 
and as he had always been identified with the Conservative party, 
the appointment had justly been regarded as a tribute to his pro- 
fessional standing alone. Some of his contemporaries have been 
known to say that if his industry had been commensurate with his 
general parts, Philip Vankoughnet would have been the ablest law- 
yer that ever figured at the Canadian bar. He was a fast friend 
of Mr. J. A. Macdonald, and it was at that gentleman's urgent 
solicitation that he now consented to renounce his exceptionally 
profitable law practice and accept a seat in the reconstructed 
Administration. He succeeded to the place of Sir Allan MacNab, and 
became President of the Council and head of the Bureau of Agricul- 
ture. He made no attempt to obtain a seat in the Assembly, but in 
the following November was elected to the Legislative Council for 
the Rideau Division, under the new Act to be presently referred to. 
We may here anticipate matters so far as to say that notwithstand- 
ing his great abilities he did not take very kindly to political life, 
of which he had had no previous experience ; nor did he ever be- 
come popular as a Cabinet Minister. The duties of a Department 
were not congenial to him, and he doubtless felt himself to be 
somewhat out of his proper sphere. Upon his election to the 
Upper House he became the leader of the Government party there, 

Sir Edmund Head. 343 

and was conspicuous for fluency of speech and a pleasing manner, 
though he was not, and did not aspire to be, a Parliamentary 
orator. His highest honours were reserved for the last seven years 
of his life, during which he filled with singular ability the dignified 
position of Chancellor of Upper Canada. 

Except Sir Allan MacNab, the only member of the late Admin- 
istration who did not hold office in the new one was Mr. Drum 
mond. That gentleman refused to acquiesce in the arrangements 
unless upon condition that he should be leader of the ministerial 
party in the Assembly. To this proviso Attorney-General Mac- 
donald, who was the real, though not the nominal head of the 
Administration, was not disposed to assent, he having reserved the 
leadership of the Lower House for himself. Mr. Drummond accord- 
ingly withdrew, and was succeeded as Attorney-General East by 
Mr. Cartier, late Provincial Secretary. The Speakership of the 
Legislative Council was retained by Colonel Tache", but he ceased 
to be Receiver-General, that portfolio being assumed by Mr. J. C. 
Morrison. Messieurs Cauchon and Lemieux retained their respec- 
tive portfolios of Crown Lands and Public Works, and Messieurs 
(J. A.) Macdonald, Cayley and Spence continued respectively to be 
Attorney-General West, Inspector-General and Postmaster-General. 
The two Solicitors-General, Messieurs Henry Smith and Dunbar 
Ross, also retained their offices. 

Such was the composition of the Tache- Macdonald Administra- 
tion of 1856. As already stated, its real head was not Colonel 
Tache*. but John A. Macdonald, who at last found himself in the 
position of Upper Canadian leader. Thenceforward down to the 
present day he has been perhaps the most conspicuous figure in 
the political life of this country. He had travelled steadily towards 
the goal at which he had arrived, and his ambition and force of 
character had proved too much for Sir Allan MacNab, who from 
that time forward ceased to exercise any important influence over 
public affairs. 

344 The Last Forty Tears. 

On Friday, the 23rd of May : two days after his resignation, and 
one day before the ministerial arrangements had been definitely 
settled : Sir Allan went, or rather was carried, down to his place in 
the Assembly, for the purpose of making the explanations naturally 
to be looked for from him under the circumstances. He reached 
the House a few minutes after the Speaker had taken the chair. 
He was swathed in flannel, and his countenance bore unmistakable 
traces of the acute bodily agony through which he had recently 
passed. Two stout serving-men carried him between them into the 
House, and placed him in the chair which he had of old been wont 
to occupy. The members, irrespective of party, sounded indubitable 
notes of welcome, and thereby signified their congratulations upon 
his convalescence. He received them with a kindly smile, but it was 
evident that he was buoyed up beyond his strength for the occasion, 
and that he was not even entirely free from physical pain. It had 
come to be generally known that his anger was hotly kindled against 
the Attorney-General West, and an exciting collision was looked 
forward to when the ministerial tactics should be laid bare to the 
Assembly. Much to the disappointment of those members who 
enjoyed such scenes, neither Mr. Macdonald nor any other mem- 
ber of the Cabinet was present, nor was any one there to repre- 
sent them, except Solicitor-General Smith. After the routine 
business had been disposed of, every one looked towards Sir Allan, 
who at once responded to the implied appeal. Being unable to 
stand erect without great discomfort, he craved the Speaker's per- 
mission to retain his seat while making his remarks. The permission 
was of course granted, and thus, seated in his chair, he proceeded to 
say a few words, which, however, threw no light on the ministerial 
changes. He remarked that he had left his room at great incon- 
venience for the express purpose of making the explanations which 
the Assembly had a right to demand of him, but that while on the 
way he had encountered Attorney-General Druramond, who had 

Sir Edmund Head. 345 

informed him that his colleagues did not intend to be in their places 
in the House until the following Monday. Under these circum- 
stances he felt it right to defer his explanations until that date. " I 
will only add," concluded Sir Allan, " my great regret that the state 
of my health has prevented my discharging my duty during the 
present session of Parliament. I have been a member of this House 
twenty-six years, and during all that period I have not been so long 
absent as during the present session. I think the people of this 
country will receive that from a man of my age as a sufficient excuse. 
I shall endeavour to be in my place next Monday to meet those gen- 
tlemen, for the purpose of making such statements as I think it be- 
comes me to make ; and to the people I confidently appeal for their 
verdict in the course I have taken. If I am supported by their voice, 
I shall feel that I am right. If condemned, I am ready to retire into 
private life and indeed, perhaps, I am now fit for little else." There 
is no reason to suppose that these closing words, which were spoken 
in a breaking and tremulous voice, had been premeditated, or that 
they were intended as an argumentum ad misericord iam ; but they 
certainly produced a marked effect upon all who heard them. There 
is indeed something indescribably touching in the simply-worded 
peroration, coming from such a man, and under such circumstances. 
The effect of the appeal was not confined to members of the House. 
It was more or less felt throughout the whole of the Upper Province, 
and Sir Allan received many expressions of warm sympathy from 
persons with whom he had very little in common except his 
humanity. Taken all and all, the scene is unique in our Parlia- 
iii' ntary history. Its earlier features the carrying into the House 
ban<laL, r oil in flannel, the bowed frame, the shattered constitution, the 
pallid countenance indicative of past suffering insensibly remind 
one of the famous episode in the life of a much greater man than 
Sir Allan: the episode in the English Parliament in 1778, when 
Chatham went down to make his last speech in tl.e House of Lords. 
Happily, however, the parallel does not extend to the concluding 


346 The Last Forty Years. 

scenes. Sir Allan did not fall back in the arms of his friends : 
first, because, as has been seen, he sat in his chair, and ran no risk 
of falling ; and second, because, unlike Lord Chatham, he rallied from 
the physical prostration wherewith he had been afflicted, and sur- 
vived for about six years, during which his name was more or less 
frequently in men's mouths, though he never regained the political 
ascendency that had once been his. 

The ministerial explanations were made at the appointed time 
Monday, the 26th. It is unnecessary that we should linger over 
them. Suffice it to say that they proved satisfactory to a majority 
of the Assembly, and that a motion of want of confidence moved by 
Mr. Dorion was negatived, after a hot debate extending over several 
days, by a majority of four. The Upper Canadian majority against 
the Government, however, was considerably increased. Here was a 
formidable dilemma, for the recent resignations had proceeded upon 
the ground that a double-majority, if not absolutely essential, was at 
all events a matter of primary importance. With what consistency 
could the Government now retain office, with the general majority 
in their favour reduced from 23 to 4, and with the Upper Canadian 
majority against them increased nearly threefold ? The Premier, 
Colonel Tach6, hinted at a second resignation. He was however 
overborne by his colleagues, who grounded their determination to 
remain in office upon the inexpediency of delaying the public busi- 
ness. Much of the legislation of the session was still incomplete, 
and it was certain that the public interests would suffer in the 
event of further complications in the Cabinet. These arguments 
prevailed. Affairs settled down into their normal condition, and 
the ordinary legislative business was proceeded with. Throughout 
the rest of the session the Government were able to carry their 
measures by fair majorities. 

The most important statutory measure of the session was the Act 
respecting the Legislative Council, which was almost identical with 
that passed by the Assembly and rejected in the Upper House during 
the previous session It enacted that the existing members should 

Sir Edmund Head. 347 

continue to hold their seats during life, as provided by th Imperial 
Act of 1840. Every future member was to be elected for a term of 
eight years by the suffrages of the people, the qualification for voters 
being the same as that of voters for members of the Assembly. 
The Province, for the purposes of the Act, was divided into forty- 
eight electoral divisions, twenty-four for each section. The elections 
were not to be simultaneous, but biennial, twelve members being 
returned at each contest : that is to say, twelve members in 1850, 
twelve in 1858, a similar number in 1860, and in each second year 
thereafter. Such was the system introduced by the Elective Legis- 
lative Council Act of 1856, which continued in operation until 
Confederation, when it was abandoned in favour of the old system 
of appointments for life. The only material modification occurred 
in 1860, when the Speaker who, under the Act of 1856, was 
appointed by the Governor was made elective by the members of 
the Council. 

Such a measure was certain to encounter opposition from the 
Conservative element in the Upper House : the element which had 
already more than once prevented it from becoming law. It how- 
ever received the sanction of a large majority of that body, and in 
due course received the royal assent. The first elections under it 
were held in the autumn of the same year, when, as has been seen, 
Mr. Vankoughnet was returned for the electoral division of Rideau.* 

The session adjourned on the 1st of July, after passing 140 Acts, 
among which may be mentioned that known as the Common LAW 
Procedure Act of 1856. It was an adaptation to local requirements 
of an English statute regulating the practice of the Courts of Com- 
mon Law, and related to Upper Canada only. The Bill respecting 
Provincial Police, after being introduced, and to some extent dis- 
cussed, was abandoned in consequence of its unpopularity. 

'Colonel Prince, who hu disappeared from the narrative for torn* time pait, wai at the 
name elections returned to the Legislative Council for the Western Division. During the 
preceding two years he had no- seat in the Legislature, his career in the Assembly baring 
closed with the Fourth Parliament in 1854. 


" The reaction which commenced this year was in part the inevitable result of undue 
speculation. Public improvements had been made in advance of the population, the 
wealth, and the commerce of the country ; and the increase, in the progress of time, of 
these elements of national greatness, could alone restore the healthy equilibrium of the 
financial condition of the body politic." MAoMuLLEN'a History of Canada,, p. 539. 

EYOND those already mentioned, there were no political 
events of much importance in Canada during the year 
1856, which, after the prorogation, glided calmly to its 
close. Meanwhile the work of railway construction 
went rapidly on. In July the Grand Trunk was opened 
from Toronto to Guelph, and in November from Guelph 
to Stratford. Before the close of the year there was direct com- 
munication all the way from Montreal to Sarnia. The Buffalo and 
Lake Huron now incorporated with the Grand Trunk was 
opened through to Stratford in December. The year also beheld the 
jlose of the Crimean war. Peace was proclaimed in the spring, and 
in July the Crimea was evacuated by the allied troops. The Chinese 
outbreak occurred several months later. These events were watched 
with sympathetic interest in Canada, where, as a result of the Eastern 
jomplications, there had for two years been a steadily increasing 
tightness of the money market. Nor were Canadians devoid of 
topics of interest nearer home. It was in 1856 that the public mind 
Srst became thoroughly aroused on the subject of the Hudson's Bav 
Company's possessions in the North- West. It was then that Cana- 

I' Annie Terrible. 349 

dians for the first time awoke to the importance of bringing about 
a union with those little-known territories, and that a general agi- 
tation was set on foot with a view to breaking up the monopoly 
that had existed for nearly two hundred years. Among those who 
gave a decided impetus to the movement a conspicuous place must in 
justice be assigned to Mr. William McDougall, who has already been 
referred to in connection with The North American newspaper. 
That journalistic enterprise had come to an end, The North 
American having been absorbed by The Globe, and Mr. Mc- 
Dougall himself having joined the editorial staff of the last-named 
journal. He was a trenchant writer, and took up the question of 
the North-West with much enthusiasm in the columns of The Globe. 
The movement steadily gained strength,* and finally resulted, 
as every Canadian knows, in the destruction of the monopoly, 
and in the absorption of the North-West into the Dominion of 
Canada. It will be sufficient in this place to add that the agita- 
tion made such rapid progress that communications with the Hud- 
son's Bay Company were set on foot before the close of the year, 
with a view to the acquirement of the territory on behalf of Canada ; 
and that early in 1857 Chief Justice Draper was sent over to Eng- 
land to represent the Province in the negotiations. The chief local 
topics of political discussion were those relating to separate schools 
and representation by population : themes which furnished the 
newspapers with never-failing matter for acrid comment. In Janu- 
ary of the new year a great gathering of Upper Canadian Reformers 
was held at Toronto for the purpose of organizing a united Oppo- 

The movement, however, had to encounter very itrong opposition from many repre- 
sentative* of the Canadian press, who did their utmost to stem the current of popular 
opinion, and to depreciate the value of the territory. Some of those representatives wrote 
wlmt they honestly believed to be true. Others merely wrote in the interests of the Hud- 
son's Bay Company. In the light of our present knowledge, it is refreshing to read in 
The Montreal Trantcript of twenty-six years ago that the climate of the North-West is 
" altogether unfavourable to the growth of grain," and that the summer is so short as to 
make it difficult to "mature even a small potato or a cabbage." 

350 The Last Forty Years. 

sition to the Government, and the two questions above referred to 
were made distinct planks in the platform. Upon the whole, how- 
ever, the Government advanced in popular favour during the recess, 
and when they next met the Houses, on the 26th of February 
(1857), they felt a well-grounded confidence in their ability to carry 
through the session in safety. 

The opening Speech was of unusual length, but it contained 
nothing of historical importance except a reference to a communica- 
tion received from the Colonial Secretary, announcing that Her 
Majesty's Government had determined to submit " certain questions 
connected with the affairs and territory of the Hudson's Bay Com- 
pany " to the consideration of a Committee of the House of Com- 
mons. In connection with the same subject, reference was made to 
Mr. Draper's mission to England, to " watch over the interests of the 
Province." Among several amendments moved in the Assembly to 
the Address in Reply was one by Mr. A. A. Dorion, expressive of 
regret that His Excellency should have been advised to despatch to 
England, on a mission relating to the Hudson's Bay Territory, a 
gentleman who occupied a judicial position in the Province. In 
the course of the ensuing debate the Government were loudly cen- 
sured by the Opposition for taking so momentous a step without 
first submitting the matter to Parliament. The Ministry defended 
their action upon the ground that Parliament had not been in 
session at the time of Mr. Draper's appointment. The case, it 
was said, had been urgent, and to have delayed the sending of an 
emissary until his appointment could be sanctioned by Parliament 
would have been prejudicial to Canadian interests, inasmuch as the 
Committee of the House of Commons would in that case have 
been some time in session before the emissary could reach his 
destination. It was further contended that Mr. Draper's know- 
ledge and talents were such as to specially fit him to represent 
the interests of Canada in such a contingency. Several Conserva- 

L 'Annie Terrible. 351 

tives spoke and voted with the Opposition on the motion, but the 
Government were strong enough t override the defection, and Mr. 
Dorian's amendment was lost by a vote of 62 to 30. In the Upper 
House the Address was carried by 16 to 6. 

With the exception of a brief adjournment during the Easter 
holidays. Parliament sat continuously until the 10th of June. Dur- 
ing the interval no fewer than 227 Acts were added to the statute 
book. Several of these were of such importance as to deserve 
special mention. 

Second to no Act of the session in practical utility was one mak- 
ing provision for a codification of the Civil Laws and Laws of 
Procedure in Lower Canada. The system of jurisprudence in that 
section of the Province was largely founded upon that of Imperial 
Rome, as modified in mediaeval France, and imported by the 
French colonists into Canada under the title of the Custom of 
Paris. This mixed system was supplemented by certain edicts of 
the French Kings and colonial Intendants promulgated before the 
Conquest, and by divers Ordinances introduced by successive Gov- 
ernors during the interval between the Conquest and the passing of 
the Constitutional Act of 1791. In addition to these, there were 
the Provincial statutes. It is scarcely to be wondered at if the 
Lower Canadian system of laws, with such various and frequently 
conflicting sources of derivation, was in a most confused and unsat- 
isfactory condition. Eminent jurists had long been in favour of 
attempting to evoke order out of such a confused chaos of authority, 
and of rendering it possible for a person of ordinary intelligence to 
acquire some approach to an accurate knowledge of the laws of the 
land without spending half a lifetime in archaeological researches. 
The abolition of the feudal system by the Seigniorial Tenure Act of 
1854 had effected a legal as well as a social revolution, and rendered 
it imperative, in the public interest, that the arduous task of codifi- 
cation should no longer be delayed. Upon Mr. Cartier, as Attorney- 

352 The Last Forty Years. 

General East, the responsibility of taking the initiatory steps pro- 
perly devolved. He acquitted himself of the responsibility by 
introducing and successfully carrying through a Bill for the desired 
object. It authorized the Governor to appoint three commissioners, 
being barristers of Lower Canada, with two secretaries, also barris- 
ters, " to reduce into one code, to be called the Civil Code of Lower 
Canada, those provisions of the laws of Lower Canada which relate 
to civil matters, and are of a general and permanent character." 
The measure was opposed, as to some of its details, by Mr. 
Drummond. Mr. Brown moved for a committee to report as to 
the practicability of codifying the laws of Upper and Lower 
Canada, and framing a system adapted to the whole Province ; but 
the motion was negatived, and Mr. Cartier's measure was passed 
by both Houses. Judges Morin, Day and Caron were in due course 
appointed Commissioners under the Act. It may here be noted that 
they began their labours in 1859, and completed them in 1864 ; and 
that in 1865 an Act was passed whereby the code was brought into 

Another important measure carried through the Assembly under 
Mr. Cartier's auspices was an Act for the Decentralization of Justice, 
whereby Lower Canada was divided into nineteen judicial districts, 
in place of the seven which had previously existed. Its object was 
to render the attainment of justice easy and cheap, by providing 
more accessible tribunals and increasing the number of judges. It 
was a great boon to the people of Lower Canada, and Mr. Cartier 
won high and deserved prestige among his compatriots for his labours 
in preparing it and passing it through Parliament. Various import- 
ant legal reforms relating to Upper Canada were also enacted dur- 
ing the session under the auspices of Attorney-General Macdonald. 
Mr. Spence is entitled to the credit of an Act to improve the organ- 
ization and increase the efficiency of the Civil Service. It classified 
the officers and clerks in the various departments, and established a 
permanent deputy-minister in each. 

L'Annte Terrible. 353 

The question of Representation by Population had by this time 
assumed formidable proportions, and kept constantly intruding 
itself into the debates. The agitation on the subject had been 
largely fomented by Mr. Brown, who took good care that it should 
not subside. As was to be expected, the doctrine was almost uni- 
versally accepted in Upper Canada. During tke previous year a 
great number of petitions had been sent in to Parliament in its 
favour from various parts of the western section of the Province. 
Mr. Brown's strenuous advocacy of the doctrine did much to increase 
and extend his local popularity, and it was also evident that his Par- 
liamentary influence was widening. On the 27th of April he intro- 
duced into the Assembly a resolution, " That in the opinion of this 
House the representation of the people in Parliament should be based 
on population, without regard to a separating line between Upper 
and Lower Canada." He was unable to carry it, but the language 
evoked during the debate proved how strong a hold the doctrine 
had obtained upon the sympathies of many Upper Canadian mem- 
bers. It was evident that both the contending parties must be pre- 
pared to speak with no uncertain sound on the question at the next 
general elections. As for the Ministry, their position with regard to 
their Lower Canadian supporters rendered it impossible for them 
to assent to the demands of Upper Canada, and it is simple jus- 
tice to say that when the time came for them to take a positive 
stand they went boldly to the hustings without subterfuge. 

The annual discussion respecting the Seat of Government was 
loud and long during the session of 1857. As previously narrated, 
the Assembly, during the last session, had decided upon establishing 
the capital permanently at Quebec, and had voted a sum of money 
for the erection of public buildings ; but the Supply Bill had been 
rejected by the Upper House in consequence of the item, so that the 
question was still practically an open one. The Government now 
decided to ignore the Assembly's vote in 1856, and to avoid further 

354 The Last Forty Years. 

heartburnings by submitting the selection of a permanent Canadian 
capital to Her Majesty. This decision evoked a tremendous outcry 
from the Opposition, who considered that to submit so purely local a 
question to the Crown was a tampering with Responsible Govern- 
ment. Various amendments were moved, and the succeeding debates 
were conducted with great vigour and acumen, but the Ministry 
finally, by a majority of nine,* carried a resolution in favour of an 
Address to Her Majesty, praying her to select the Seat of Govern- 
ment. The Address was duly transmitted to England. After a 
short delay, Her Majesty accepted the responsibility, and selected 
Ottawa as the capital of Canada. 

At the end of April, Mr. Cauchon, being unable to induce his col- 
leagues to consent to grant further aid to the North Shore Railway, 
resigned his portfolio. He possessed great administrative capacity, 
and had made a very energetic and efficient Commissioner of Crown 
Lands ; but he had been spurred on by his Parliamentary supporters, 
who were interested in the North Shore line, to make very impera- 
tive demands upon his colleagues in the Government, and the latter 
had not on this occasion thought proper to yield. After Mr. 
Cauchon's withdrawal, the opposition of his supporters was indi- 
rectly mollified by the grant of 1,500,000 acres of land to a company 
which eventually amalgamated with the North Shore enterprise. 
As matter of fact, Mr. Cauchon does not seem to have contem- 
plated actual resignation, but certain phrases employed by him in a 
communication to Colonel Tache were construed by that gentleman 
as implying a wish to resign, and were accepted as such. Colonel 
Tache took upon himself the duties of the office which Mr. Cauchon 
had vacated. 

When Parliament was prorogued on the 10th of June, the minis- 
terial organs were able to boast that Government had gone through 

* There were 111 members present, and the vote stood 61 to 50. See Journal*, Tuesday, 
March 24th, 1857. 

L'Annte Terrible. 

an exceptionally busy and productive session without encountering 
a single defeat. A week later Sir Edmund Head and his family set 
out from Toronto on a visit to England. During the Governor's 
absence his viceregal functions were discharged by Lieutenant- 
General Sir William Eyre, K.G.B., Commander of the Forces in 

The year 1867 was one long to be remembered in this country. It 
was signalized by the first terrible railway accident that ever occurred 
in the Province a calamity which carried desolation to many a 
Canadian home. On the 12th of March, a Great Western Rail- 
way passenger train, proceeding from Toronto to Hamilton, crashed 
through the bridge spanning the Desjardins Canal, in the im- 
mediate neighbourhood of Hamilton, and caused the loss of about 
seventy lives. On the 26th of the following June a catastrophe 
attended with still more appalling results occurred in the St. Law- 
rence river. The Montreal, a steamer plying between Quebec and 
Montreal, having on board several hundred emigrants, principally 
Scotch and Norwegians, took fire when a short distance above Cape 
Rouge, and was consumed with such rapidity that about 250 persons 
lost their lives. As these were the first casualties of their kind in 
Canada they caused much consternation throughout the Province, 
and even, it is said, affected the receipts from passenger traffic for 
an entire season. But there were other reasons for a serious falling 
off in the traffic. The autumn of the year ushered in the most dis- 
astrous commercial crisis through which Canada has ever been com- 
pelled to pass. Various causes contributed to bring about such an 
unpropitious state of affairs. The harvest, generally speaking, was 
not much more than half a crop, either in Canada or in the chief 
grain-growing districts of the United States. The crisis began in 
the New York market early in September, and its echo was soon 
heard throughout the republic. Erelong the effect made itself felt 
in Canada. But the chief cause of Provincial disaster was to be 

356 The Last Forty Years. 

found within our own borders. The country had been passing 
through an era of extravagance. Costly public works had been 
set on foot, and railway development had proceeded at a rate 
altogether incommensurate with our needs. We were called upon 
to pay the penalty which properly attaches to the acts of those who 
live beyond their means. Ere the setting-in of winter, trade had 
become almost stagnant. Some of the leading wholesale houses in 
the chief commercial centres were unable to meet their engagements, 
and their failure involved the ruin of numberless retail merchants 
throughout the Province. Not an insignificant town or village but 
felt the effect of the terrible ordeal through which the country was 
passing. There was an almost total collapse of mercantile credit, 
and every industry was smitten by paralysis. The agricultural com- 
munity shared in the general gloom. The unexampled prosperity 
which had attended them during the progress of the Crimean war 
had induced hundreds of Canadian farmers to launch out into 
unnecessary expenditure, and to embark in enterprises which they 
were incapable of conducting to successful issues. Numbers of them 
were now compelled to mortgage their farms, and to pay exorbitant 
interest, in order to meet unprofitable engagements which had been 
entered upon with high hopes. For the time, railway enterprise 
was over, and the various companies were involved in pecuniary 
embarrassments. One line was seized for non-payment of interest 
on the Government bonds. The public revenue of the Province 
fell off to such an extent that the year's expenditure was 340,000 
in excess of the income. It was evident that Canada had entered 
upon a period of serious mercantile disaster, and that the return 
of prosperity would not be a matter of weeks or months, but of 

Such crises are almost always fraught with more or less of 
peril to a Ministry. The Tache"-Macdonald Government formed 
no exception to the general rule, but though they for a time felt 

L'Anntc Terrible. 357 

the strain keenly, they surmounted the first effects with signal suc- 
cess. In November some important ministerial changes occurred. 
Mr. Terrill, whose private affairs required his personal attention, 
resigned his portfolio on the 9th of the month, though he nominally 
retained it until the appointment of his successor on the 25th. 
Colonel Tacho, who had sat in the Cabinet continuously ever since 
the formation of the second Lafontaine-Baldwin Ministry in March, 
1 s-18, and had grown weary of ministerial life, also withdrew from 
the Government on the 25th. As he was the Premier, his withdrawal 
implied a dissolution of the Cabinet, but Mr. John A. Macdonald, at 
the Governor's request, successfully applied himself to the work of 
reconstruction. The Upper Canadian members agreed to resume 
their places. Mr. Cartier became the head of the Lower Canada 
section of the Cabinet, and continued to hold the portfolio of Attor- 
ney-General East. Mr. Sicotte resigned the Speakership of the 
Assembly, and accepted the Commissionership of Crown Lands. 
Mr. Narcisse Fortunat Belleau, a member of the Upper House,* 
succeeded Colonel Tachd as Speaker of the Legislative Council. The 
Commissionership of Public Works, which had just been vacated by 
Mr. Lemieux, was accepted by Mr. Charles Alleyn, a gentleman not 
hitherto mentioned in these pages. He was a successful lawyer of 
Irish birth who had long been resident at Quebec, and had sat in 
the Assembly for that city since the general election of 1854. As a 
politician he cannot be said to have presented any very salient fea- 
tures, but his abilities were above the average, and he possessed a 
courtly presence and manner. The Provincial Secretaryship, lately 
held by Mr. Terrill, was offered to Mr. A. A. Dorion, and declined by 
him ; whereupon it was offered to and accepted by Mr. Thomas Jean 
Jacques Loranger, member for Laprairie, a gentleman of great talents 
and considerable oratorical power, who now occupies an honoured 
position on the judicial bench in his native Province. Mr. Henry 

See antt, p. 286. 

358 The Last Forty Tears. 

Smith continued to be Solicitor-General for Upper Canada. The cor- 
responding office for Lower Canada was assumed by Mr. John Rose,* 
an eminent Montreal lawyer of Scottish birth and parentage. Mr. 
Rose had not up to this time taken any part in active political life, 
and had no seat in either House of Parliament, but at the ensuing 
general election he was returned as one of the members for Montreal. 
The Macdonald-Cartier Government assumed the reins of power on 
the 26th of November, and Mr. Macdonald was thenceforward the 
head of the Administration ia name as well as in fact. Two days 
afterwards Parliament was dissolved, and the general elections, to 
which Canadians had for some months been looking forward with 
anxiety, were fixed for December and January. Both parties 
plunged into the contest with ardent enthusiasm. The principal 
issues submitted to the people of Upper Canada were Separate 
Schools and Representation by Population, on both of which ques- 
tions party lines were very sharply drawn. The Ministerialists, for 
reasons already referred to,f advocated Separate Schools, and opposed 
Representation by Population. Mr. Brown, the most redoubtable 
opponent of the Government, by his persistent advocacy of the 
other side of these questions, had made a good many converts. He 
employed the full weight of his personal and journalistic influence, 
and his paper and himself were most important factors in the 
contest. The result, so far as Upper Canada was concerned, was 
discouraging for the Ministry, three members of which Messieurs 
Cayley, Morrison and Spence failed to secure election in their 
respective constituencies. Mr. Cayley subsequently found a seat 
in Renfrew, but Mr. Morrison and Mr. Spence were less fortu- 
nate. Mr. Brown enjoyed the triumph of a double return, having 
been elected both for Toronto and the North Riding of Oxford. 

Now the Hon. Sir John Rose, Bart., K.C.M.G., of the well-known banking firm of 
Messieurs Morton, Rose & Co., London, England. 

+ Ante, pp. 325, 353. 


L'Annte Terrible. 359 

Many of his warmest adherents were also returned by consider- 
able majorities, and long before the last writ was returnable it 
was evident that there would be a preponderance of anti-minis- 
terial Upper Canadian votes in the Assembly. In Lower Canada a 
different order of things prevailed. An overwhelming majority of 
Ministerialists were elected, and two-thirds of the Rouge members 
wlio had sat in the last Parliament sustained defeat. Mr. A. A. 
Dorion, their leader, was among the half dozen or so who were 
successful in the contest. As to the rest, their alliance with the 
Upper Canadian Clear Grits was fatal to them. Even Mr. Hoi tun, 
who personally was both popular and respected, was defeated in 
Montreal by the new Solicitor-General East The French Canadian 
electors could not be brought to vote for candidates who had allied 
themselves with Mr. Brown and his following the advocates of 
unsectarian schools and representation according to population. 

With the exception of Messieurs Spence* and Morrison, all the 
members of the Ministry who were not Legislative Councillors 
found seats in the Assembly. In addition to the gentlemen already 
referred to as having been successful in securing their elections, the 
complete returns contained the names of many old members whose 
personalities are familiar to the reader, including those of J. S. 
Macdonald, W. L. Mackenzie, David Christie, George Sherwood, 
Henry Smith, Malcolm Cameron, W. H. Merritt, M. H. Foley, 
William Notman and Joseph Hartman from Upper Canada ; and 
Joseph Cauchon, L. T. Drummond, A. T. Gait, J. C. Chapais, C. J. 
Laberge, F. Lemieux, Dunbar Ross and T. L. Terrill from Lower 
Canada. Conspicuous among a host of new members were John 
Rose, Thomas D'Arcy McGee, Hector Louis Langevin, Christopher 
Dunkin, Oliver Mowat, John Sheridan Hogan, William P. Howland 
and John Carling. Mr. Rose, the new Solicitor-General, has just 

* During tba following seuion Mr. Spence withdraw permanently from political life, 
and accepted the appointment of Collector of Ctutomi at the port of Toronto. 

360 The Last Forty Tears. 

been introduced to the reader. Mr. Dunkin has already been 
encountered at the bar of the Assembly as the able advocate of the 
Lower Canadian seigniors, in connection with the subject of the 
Seigniorial Tenure.* He now took his seat in Parliament for the 
constituency of Drummond and Arthabaska. Mr. Hogan and his 
tragical fate were referred to some time back.-f- He was returned 
for the county of Grey. Each of the other five gentlemen above 
named is entitled to a brief introduction. 

Thomas D'Arey McGee, one of the most brilliant orators known 
to our Parliamentary history, had at this time been a resident of 
Canada only a few months, but his reputation had preceded him 
hither, and a considerable degree of interest had long attached to 
his name, for he had " a past behind him," as well as a future before 
him. He was one of that band of ardent young Irishmen who had 
been compromised in the Irish troubles of 1848, and had been 
compelled to seek personal safety beyond the limits of the United 
Kingdom. He was a native of Carlingford, County Louth, where 
he was born in 1825. His genius developed itself under somewhat 
untoward circumstances, for his parents were people in humble 
circumstances, and unable to afford him many advantages. But 
the genius was there, and would not be repressed. He was en- 
dowed with a glowing, poetic imagination, was full of enthusiasm, 
and even in his early youth possessed in an eminent degree the 
national gift of eloquence. These qualifications, however, proved 
to be unmarketable commodities in his native land, and soon after 
entering upon his seventeenth year he emigrated to the United 
States, where he entered upon the career of a journalist, and, 
notwithstanding his extreme youth, won considerable fame among 
the Irish Catholic population as a writer and speaker of uncommon 
power. His repute extended across the Atlantic, insomuch that in 
184j he returned to Ireland to take the editorship of The Freeman's 

"Ante, p. 271. t Ante, Vol. I., pp. 187, 188, and note on latter page. 

L'Anne'e Terrible. 361 

Journal, at Dublin. Mr. O'Connell's policy, however, was alto- 
gether too moderate for a fiery young Celt of twenty years of age, 
whose judgment was subordinated by his imagination, and who 
had lived in the United States long enough to imbibe Irish- 
American ideas. He soon threw the Journal overboard, and joined 
Charles Gavan Duffy and the band of hot-headed young students 
who had founded The Nation. Thenceforward he glided naturally 
enough into Smith O'Brien's insurrection. When the collapse came 
he made his escape in the disguise of a priest, and fled to New York, 
where he established The Ne\v York Nation, a weekly newspaper 
written for the Irish population of America. His want of judgment 
was signally displayed at the very outset of this enterprise. He 
editorially assailed the Roman Catholic hierarchy, and attributed the 
failure of the recent insurrection in Ireland to their conduct in 
dissuading their parishioners from embarking in the undertaking. 
This was not to be tolerated. Bishop Hughes, of New York, 
quietly set his foot upon the Nation, and it was no more heard of. 
Then, untaught by experience, Mr. McQee began a similar enterprise 
in Boston, under the title of The American Celt. By degrees, how- 
ever, light began to dawn upon him. He began, not only to perceive 
the folly of kicking against the pricks, but to take broader and more 
sensible views of life. In a word, he imbibed some of the civilizing 
influences by which he was surrounded in the intellectual centre of 
America, and recognized the fact that hatred and revenge are not 
the noblest sentiments whereby the human mind can be dominated. 
By slow and imperceptible degrees lie was led to perceive that hia 
past life had been a mistake. The tone of his writings and speeches 
underwent a gradual revolution, and he began to preach a gospel of 
peace and good-will. He became reconciled to the hierarchy, and 
thenceforward received their support. In 1852 he removed to 
Buffalo, where he continued the publication of the Celt for about 
five years, during which time he gained a very high reputation 

362 The Last Forty Years. 

throughout the republic as a lecturer and writer on Irish affairs. 
His paper was par excellence the exponent of Irish Catholic opinion 
on this continent, and the fame of its editor extended to Canada, for 
his eloquence was constantly quoted in the newspapers, and he de- 
livered occasional lectures in Montreal and other Canadian towns. 
His pecuniary success, however, was not great, as the Celt did not 
champion the cause of any political party, and received no appre- 
ciable support except from the Irish population. From time' to time 
some of his well-wishers advised him to remove to Montreal, where 
the want of a ruling mind was sensibly felt among his fellow- 
countrymen. In 1857 he acted upon the advice, and removed thither 
with his family. He founded a newspaper called The New Era, 
wherein he began to advocate an early union of all the British 
North American colonies. The paper did not live long enough to 
make any strong impression, for within a short time after its com- 
mencement the general elections came on, and its founder was 
returned to the Assembly as one of the members for Montreal. He 
then abandoned journalism, and devoted his time to acquiring such 
a knowledge of Canadian affairs as might fit him for the proper 
discharge of his duties as a member of Parliament. He was at this 
time still a young man, being only in his thirty-third year. He 
joined the ranks of the Opposition, and caused no little annoyance 
to the Government by his raillery. It must be confessed, however, 
that at the outset of his career in Parliament he did not justify the 
sanguine expectations which had been formed of him. He mani- 
fested a fondness for sa3'ing irritating and ill-natured things, the 
saying of which could answer no good purpose, and which reflected 
no credit upon either the intellect or the disposition of the utterer. 
There was a constant effort to be " smart," with results which were 
usually by no means commensurate therewith. As the sessions passed 
by, however, his intellectual range became wider, and the genuine 
aide of his character asserted itself. Long before the occurrence of 

L'Annte Terrible. 363 

the tragedy which deprived the country of his services, Thomas 
D'Arcy McGee had come to be known as something much more 
than a clever writer and speaker. He had given the world assur- 
ance of a man who recognized the responsibilities of the trying 
position in which he had been placed. Throughout his life he was 
an omnivorous reader, and he thus managed to pick up a great deal 
of miscellaneous knowledge which his brilliant parts enabled him 
to turn to good account ; so that, without being in the strict sense 
of the word a scholar, he was emphatically a scholarly man, with an 
inherent reverence for learning. He lived to hold high and honour- 
able office under the Sovereign against whom he had rebelled 
in the hey-day of youth and inexperience, and had his life been 
spared there is reason for believing that the land of his adoption 
would have been better for his having lived in it 

Sir Hector Langevin is too well known to the Canadians of the 
present day to need any very prolonged introduction. He is a 
native of the city of Quebec, where he was bora in 1826, and where 
the greater part of his life has been spent. He studied law at 
Montreal in the office of Mr. A. N. Morin, and was known during 
his student days as a clever journalist and pamphleteer. In 1850 
he was called to the bar, and began practice at Montreal, but during 
the following year he removed to his native city, which has ever 
since been his home. In 1855 he gained the first of three extra 
prizes for on essay on Canada, written for circulation at the Paris 
exhibition. He was intimately connected with municipal and rail- 
way matters in Quebec, and was several times elected mayor of the 
city. At the general elections of 1857 he was returned to the 
mbly for the county of Dorchester, in the Conservative interest. 
As will presently be seen, he made himself conspicuous before the 
close of his first Parliamentary session. He has ever since been a 
prominent figure in political life, and since the death of Sir George 
Cartier in 1873 he has been recognized as the most distinguished 

364 The Last Forty Tears. 

French Canadian in Parliament. His knightly title had no exist- 
ence in the remote times of which we are speaking, and was not 
conferred until 1881. 

Oliver Mowat, the present First Minister of Ontario, is a native 
of Kingston, where his father, a native of the Scottish Highlands, 
was long engaged in mercantile pursuits, and was identified with 
the Conservative party, though he had from the first been an advo- 
cate of Responsible Government, and an opponent of the exclusive 
claims of the Church of England to the Clergy Reserves. The son 
was reared amid Conservative influences, but gave little attention 
to politics until he had reached an age to form independent opin- 
ions. He studied law, and after his call to the bar began practice, 
first at Kingston and afterwards at Toronto. He devoted himself 
to the equity branch of his profession, and took the leading position 
at the Chancery bar. As he approached middle life he formed 
political ideas widely at variance with those in which he had been 
reared, and eventually joined the Reform party.* At the general 
elections of 1857, when he was in his thirty-eighth year, he nailed 
his colours to the mast by offering himself to the constituency of 
South Ontario in opposition to the Hon. J. C. Morrison, Receiver- 
General, whom he defeated by a large majority. The Opposition 
justly regarded him as an important acquisition to their ranks, 
wherein he took a place second only to that occupied by Mr. Brown 

Mr. now the Hon. Sir William Pearce Howland was then, as 
now, one of the commercial magnates of Toronto. He is a native 
of the State of New York, but has resided in Canada since his 

* "Some Conservatives regarded and spoke of his alliance with the Reform Party as a 
defection from their ranks. A defection, however, it certainly was not, as he had never 
been allied with the Tory party, as had his father. He had never recorded a Tory vote, 
or in fact taken any part in political life. His growing leanings in the direction of 
Liberalism were the outgrowth of the times, and of his own study and reflection." 
Canadian Portrait Gallery, Vol. II., [>. 88. 

L'AnnA Terrible. Stir, 

youth, and has long been recognized as more Canadian in his sym- 
pathies than many persons to the manner born. He was returned 
in the Reform interest for the West Riding of York, a constituency 
in which many years of his life had been passed, and where he had 
laid the foundation of his fortunes. He was known as a man of 
great shrewdness, and of much business enterprise and judgment. 

John Carling is of English descent, and was born in the township 
of London, Upper Canada, in 1828. He has all his life been con- 
nected with the brewing interest, with which the name of his 
family is inseparably associated in this Province. In politics he is, 
and has ever been, a Conservative of moderate views. He first 
entered public life at the period under consideration as member for 
the city of London, which he has ever since represented in Parlia- 
ment. Without possessing any special gifts as a politician, he is 
known as an excellent man of business, of much enterprise and 
public spirit, and enjoying much personal popularity. 

Isaac Buchanan, though not strictly a new member, had been so 
long out of public life that he might almost be so regarded. We 
have already made his acquaintance as a member for the city of 
Toronto in the First Parliament under the Union.* He had resigned 
his seat on the 2nd of January, 1843, and during the intervening 
fifteen years had not offered himself as a candidate for any con- 
stituency. He was now returned for the city of Hamilton-*-in 
which he resided as a supporter of the Government. He still 
called himself a Conservative Reformer, and continued to take a 
keen interest in all questions relating to finance and trade. 

Malcolm. Cameron, after an absence of more than three years from 
public life, now took his seat onoe more in the Assembly as member 
for Lambton. Though he had been one of the founders of the 
Clear Grit party, he for some time henceforth gave a general sup- 
port to the Macdonald-Cartier Government. 

Antt, Vol. I., pp. 104, 106. 


"A Ministry of two days : a thing which was, and which is not, before either friend or 
foe can realize its existence." The Cotmopolitan, Toronto ; August llth, 1858. 

T the beginning of February, 1858, Messieurs Spence and 
Morrison, having failed in their respective elections, de- 
mitted their seats in the Cabinet. The Postmaster- 
General's portfolio was accepted by Mr. Sidney Smith, 
who had sat during the last Parliament for the West 
Riding of Northumberland, and who had now been 
reflected for that constituency. He was a successful lawyer, resi- 
dent at Cobourg, and had up to this time been in the ranks of the 
Upper Canadian Opposition. The Receiver-Generalship was as- 
sumed by the Hon. John Ross, who had resigned the Attorney- 
General's portfolio during the session of 1856.* Mr. Cayley's 
candidature in Renfrew being considered safe (as it ultimately 
proved to be), the Inspector-Generalship was permitted to remain 
in his hands, and the Cabinet was thus complete. 

The intelligence that Ottawa had been fixed upon by Imperial 
mandate as the Provincial capital became known in Canada early 
in the year, but too late to exercise any influence upon the elections, 
which were just over. Her Majesty's choice was most unpopular 
with the Opposition, and their organs inveighed loudly on the 
subject until the meeting of Parliament. In Montreal and Quebec 
there was naturally much dissatisfaction, independently of party 

"Ante, p. 330. 

The Short Administration. 3G7 

considerations. All the circumstances being taken into account, 
however, it would seem that the royal selection was wisely made. 
Standing on the boundary-line between the two Provinces, Ottawa's 
position, more especially as compared with that of Quebec or 
Toronto, was central. Being remote from the frontier, it might be 
regarded as comparatively safe in the event of aggression from 
across the lines. But its highest recommendation was unques- 
tionably to be found in the fact that its geographical position 
afforded a sort of compromise between the rival claims of Upper and 
Lower Canada, which claims had presented the most serious obstacle 
to the settlement of the Seat of Government question for years past. 
The new Parliament assembled at Toronto on the 25th of Feb- 
ruary. Mr. Henry Smith was elected Speaker of the Assembly 
without opposition. The Speech from the Throne, which was 
delivered by the Governor on the 26th, outlined a few practical 
measures of reform, but was otherwise unimportant. It referred 
to the settlement of the Seat of Government question, but the 
reference was of the most cursory nature, and was inserted in 
the middle of a short paragraph referring to the Hudson's Bay 
Company's territory. The Address in Reply gave rise to an excep- 
tional number of amendments, which were so worded as to force 
the Government to declare their policy on all the great questions 
of the time. Long before the debates came to a close it had become 
evident that there would be a considerable preponderance of Upper 
Canadian votes against the Ministry, who must either resign office 
or consent to abandon the double-majority principle, and carry on 
the affairs of the country by means of a majority obtained from 
Lower Canada. In adopting the latter alternative they would 
violate no principle. They would merely say, in effect : " We have 
changed our opinions on this subject." The amendments were 
voted down, one after another. It was clear that the Government 
could command a majority of from twenty to thirty of the whole 

368 The Last Forty Years. 

House, though it was equally clear that they were in a minority as 
regarded Upper Canada. Under these circumstances they resolved, 
as the less of two evils, to incur the charge of inconsistency, rather 
than hand over the reins of power to their opponents. The double- 
majority doctrine was cast overboard, and the ministerial ship, 
lightened of so unmanageable a burthen, pursued its way with a 
favouring wind. Thenceforward until towards the end of July the 
sessional business was carried on with energy, and with tolerably 
productive results. During the interval the double-majority ques- 
tion received a formal Parliamentary quietus. A motion by Mr. 
Joseph E. Thibaudeau, member for Portneuf, that " any attempt at 
legislation which would affect one section of the Province, in opposi- 
tion to the votes of a majority of the representatives of that section, 
would produce consequences detrimental to the welfare of the 
Province," gave rise to a full discussion of the entire question 
involved. This motion, as well as a number of amendments 
affirming the double-majority principle, was opposed by the whole 
power of the Administration, the very life of which was menaced 
thereby. The Opposition also put forward their utmost strength. 
The latter were strong in oratorical ability, and now included in their 
ranks the three ex-Ministers, Messieurs Cauchon, Drummond and 
Lemieux, as well as the three new members, Messieurs McGee, Mowat 
and Hogan. But the incidents of former sessions were repeated. 
The Opposition were divided by sectional and personal jealousies, as 
well as by differences of opinion on public questions ; * whereas the 
Ministerialists stood loyally by each other, and presented an almost 
unbroken front.f Mr. Thibaudeau's motion and the various amend- 
ments were defeated by majorities which plainly proved that on 

Messieurs George Brown, David Christie, J. S. Hogan, Oliver Mowat, and many 
other members of the Upper Canadian Opposition voted on the s?me side as the Minis- 
terialists on this question, and others shirked the vote by purposely absenting themselves. 

i Several of their mpporters, however, including Mr. Langevin, the new member for 
Dorchester, voted in favour of the double-majority doctrine. 

The Short Administration. 369 

any vital question the Administration had nothing to fear. From 
that time forward, the question of a double or sectional majority 
cannot be said to have ever presented itself before the Canadian 
Parliament as a matter for practical consideration. 

The Opposition, though beaten, were not discouraged, and ad- 
dressed themselves to the task of discomfiting the Ministry on 
another important question. The selection of Ottawa as the Pro- 
vincial capital had occasioned a good deal of surprise throughout 
the country, and, as previously mentioned, had been eagerly seized 
hold of by the Opposition as a weapon to be used against the 
Administration. Her Majesty's choice had been ratified by Parlia- 
ment, and a sum had been appropriated for the erection of public 
buildings, but these circumstances did not deter the opponents of the 
Government from attempting to reverse the decision. A series of 
motions expressive of dissatisfaction at the Imperial selection was 
now set on foot. After the first of the series, which was moved by 
Mr. A. A. Dorion in connection with a question of supply, had been 
voted down, the matter was allowed to rest until the 28th of July, 
when the subject was revived by Mr. Thibaudeau. His motion, 
which was to the same purport as Mr. Dorion's, was for that reason 
ruled to be out of order ; whereupon Mr. Dunkin moved an address 
to the Queen, praying Her Majesty to reconsider her decision, and to 
name Montreal instead of Ottawa. Such a motion could not be ex- 
pected to command a very wide support, and Mr. Brown moved in 
amendment, " That an humble address be presented to his Excel- 
lency, praying that no action be taken towards the erection of pub- 
lic buildings at Ottawa for the permanent accommodation of the 
Executive Government and Legislature, or for the removal of the 
public departments to that city." A further amendment by Mr. 
Piche", member for Berthier, " That it is the opinion of this House 
that the city of Ottawa ought not to be the permanent Seat of 
Government for the Province," came next in order, and upon it, 

370 The Last Forty Years. 

after a long debate, the sense of the House was taken. The vote 
stood 64 to 50 in favour of the amendment, and Mr. Brown rose in 
his place, to the accompaniment of a perfect whirlwind of Opposi- 
tion cheers. The House, he said, could have no doubt that the 
motion which had just been carried was an express disapproval 
of the Government policy; and in order to test the matter he 
would move an adjournment. Attorney-General Macdonald, on 
the part of himself and his colleagues, at once signified his accept- 
ance of the challenge, and declared his willingness to make his 
retention of office dependent on the vote about to be given. 
Attorney-General Cartier expressed similar sentiments ; and the 
House was made to thoroughly understand that the fate of the 
Ministry depended upon the impending vote. Now, there were a 
good many members who disapproved of Ottawa as the Seat of 
Government, and who yet were by no means prepared to vote for a 
transfer of power from Mr. Macdonald to Mr. Brown. Upon the 
question being submitted, the motion for adjournment was defeated 
by a majority of 11, the vote standing 61 to 50. The evidence thus 
afforded was conclusive. The Administration possessed the confi- 
dence of a majority of the people's representatives. But the 
majority was derived from Lower Canada, and the Upper Canadian 
vote was decidedly adverse. The source of the majority was of less 
consequence since the repudiation of the double-majority doctrine ; 
but the circumstances were peculiar, and after careful deliberation 
the Ministry concluded that they would best serve their own 
interests by resigning. They knew that they could command a 
majority in the Assembly, and that no Government formed by their 
opponents could be permanent. The Opposition, by approving and 
carrying Mr. Piche's amendment, had taken a stand which might 
easily be made to tell against them in the popular mind. They had 
laid themselves open to the charge of having practically passed a 
vote of censure upon Her Majesty. The Ministry, by promptly 

The Short Administration. 371 

resigning office, would identify themselves with the cause of their 
Sovereign. They would be certain to win public sympathy, and 
thus gain by their opponents' loss. The Opposition would be called 
on to form a Cabinet, and would doubtless make the attempt, but, 
owing to the want of coherence in their ranks, it was certain that 
tliry could not get together any body of men that could command 
the support of a majority of the Assembly, as then constituted, 
for any considerable length of time. Acting upon these well- 
grounded assumptions, the Government, though they were under 
no constitutional necessity for so doing, tendered their resignations 
on Thursday, the 29th the day succeeding the hostile vote on the 
Seat of Government. 

Mr. Brown, as the most conspicuous member of the Opposition, 
was forthwith charged by his Excellency with the task of forming 
a new Administration. On the afternoon of Friday, the 30th, Mr. 
J. S. Macdonald announced to the Assembly that Mr. Brown, in 
conjunction with Mr. Dorion, had entered upon negotiations which, 
it was hoped, would soon be successfully completed. A delay of 
three days was asked for, and readily granted. On the morning of 
Saturday, the 31st, in the course of an interview between the Gov- 
ernor-General and Mr. Brown, the question of an immediate disso- 
lution of Parliament was discussed. It would seem that, contrary 
to what has often been asserted, the discussion did not assume the 
shape of an endeavour on Mr. Brown's part to obtain his Excellency's 
consent to a dissolution. The subject appears to have been merely 
talked over, in connection with various other possibilities of the 
near future. It is at all events certain that Mr. Brown left 
Government House without having obtained from his Excellency 
any definite expression of opinion on the subject of a dissolution, 
and that, in the absence of any such expression of opinion, he 
addressed himself to the task of completing his negotiations for 
the formation of a Ministry. The full significance of these facts 
will presently be understood. 

372 The Last Forty Years. 

Mr. Brown's greatest difficulty, as might have beeu anticipated, 
was to obtain any foothold in Lower Canada. Through his alliance 
with Mr. Dorion he could count upon the Rouge influence, but that 
was now inconsiderable. Mr. Sicotte, ex-Commissioner of Crown 
Lands, was approached with proposals which would have left him 
free to adopt great latitude of action ; but that gentleman was not 
disposed to enter into any alliance with Mr. Brown, and rejected 
all overtures to that end. With Messieurs Lernieux, Laberge and 
Thibaudeau the approaches were more successful, and to these were 
added Mr. Drummond, as the representative of the Irish Roman 
Catholic population, and Mr. Holton, who had no seat in Parlia- 
ment, having, as already mentioned, been defeated in Montreal 
at the last election by Solicitor-General Rose. In Upper Canada 
there were no serious difficulties in the way, and the offices were 
soon apportioned. The negotiations were practically completed 
on Saturday, but were not formally ratified until Sunday, the 
1st of August. About ten o'clock on Sunday evening a circum- 
stance occurred to which, in the subsequent course of events, much 
significance was attached. One of the Governor's aides-de-camp 
waited upon Mr. Brown and handed him a memorandum from his 
Excellency embodying several important notifications. " The Gov- 
ernor-General " so ran the memorandum " gives no pledge or 
promise, express or implied, with reference to dissolving Parlia- 
ment. When advice is tendered to his Excellency on this subject 
he will make up his mind according to the circumstances then exist- 
ing, and the reasons then laid before him." The memorandum then 
set forth that the Governor was willing to consent to a prorogation, 
upon the understanding that Parliament should meet again as soon 
as possible " say in November or December ; " but the opinion was 
expressed that the business transacted in the interval should be 
confined to matters necessary for the ordinary administration of 
Government ; and it was suggested that a measure for the registra- 
tion of voters and another for the prohibition of fraudulent assign- 

The Short Administration. 373 

inente* should be proceeded with and passed. " Besides this," con- 
tinued the Governor, "any item of supply absolutely necessary 
should be provided for by a vote of credit, and the money for 
repairs of the canals, which cannot be postponed, should be voted." 
An intimation was added that his Excellency could not consent to 
a prorogation until these necessary steps should have been taken. 

Early on the following (Monday) morning Mr. Brown, with- 
out consulting his colleagues, replied on his own sole responsibility 
to this missive. He intimated that he had successfully fulfilled 
the duty entrusted to him, and that he and his proposed colleagues 
would not be in a position to discuss " the important measures and 
questions of public policy referred to in his Excellency's memoran- 
dum" until they had "assumed the functions of constitutional 
advisers of the Crown." A few minutes after despatching his 
reply Mr. Brown waited upon the Governor, and submitted for his 
approval the names of the proposed Ministers. At noon on the 
same day the Utter were sworn into office. In the Assembly, 
after the transaction of the usual routine business, Mr. William 
Patrick, member for South Grenville, announced the names of the 
new Ministry. They were as follow : 


The Hon. George Brown, Premier and Inspector-General. 

" J. S. Macdonald, Attorney-General West. 
" " James Morris, Speaker of the Legislative Council. 

" M. H. Foley, Postmaster-General. 
" " Oliver Mowat, Provincial Secretary. 

The Hon. A. A. Dorion, Commissioner of Crown Lands. 

Bills to effect theie objects had already made some progress during the session, and 
were passed before its close. 

374 The Last Forty Years. 

The Hon. L. T. Drummond, Attorney-General East. 

" L. H. Holton, Commissioner of Public Works. 

" F. Lemieux, Receiver-General. 

" J. E. Thibaudeau, President of the Council. 

The Solicitors-General West and East respectively were Skeffington 
Connor, member for South Oxford, and Charles Joseph Laberge, 
member for Iberville. 

But Mr. Brown's difficulties, so far from being ended with the 
formation of his Ministry, were only just beginning. After an- 
nouncing the names of the new Ministers, Mr. Patrick intimated 
that they would fully explain their views when they were in their 
seats ; and that meanwhile he had been instructed by them to 
declare their wish that the necessary business of the country should 
be closed, and that Parliament should be prorogued at the earliest 
possible day. He added that the Government had not had time to 
consider the public measures before the House, but would lose no 
time in doing so, and that he hoped to be able to be more explicit 
on the morrow. A similar explanation was then made in French by 
Mr. Piche* ; and after the Speaker had instructed the Clerk to call 
the order of the day, Mr. Bureau, member for Napierville, seconded 
by Mr. Piche, moved the issue of a writ for the election of a member 
for Montreal, in the room of Mr. Dorion. To this motion Mr. 
Langevin moved an amendment : " That this House, while ordering 
the said writ, must at the same time state that the Administration, 
the formation of which has created this vacancy, does not possess 
the confidence of this House and of the country." By moving this 
amendment the member for Dorchester gained some notoriety at 
the time, and that not altogether of an enviable kind, for there was 
a very general feeling that his motion was a violation of Parlia- 
mentary courtesy.* The Ministers involved in it had, by accepting 

" There can be no doubt," gays Mr. Fennings Taylor, " that the resolution exactly 
expressed the sentiment of Parliament, but it is by no means as clear that the time of 

The Short Administration. 375 

office, vacated their seats, and were thus unable to defend themselves 
in Parliament. Undoubtedly, however, there was another side to 
the question. The declaration made by Mr. Patrick on behalf of 
the Administration had l>een exceedingly meagre and unsubstantial, 
and left them free to adopt almost any line of action whatever. 
It was notorious that the gentlemen whose names had been 
announced as composing the new Ministry entertained widely 
divergent views on many of the most important questions of the 
day. Had they authorized their spokesman to announce a policy, 
even of the most clastic character, they would have been entitled to 
ask for a fair trial ; but they had no right to ask Parliament either 
to take their policy for granted or to trust them blindfold. As 
simple matter of fact, the Brown-Dorion Administration had not 
matured a policy, and the heterogeneous elements of which they 
were composed rendered much deliberation necessary. If Mr. Lan- 
gevin's amendment was unusual, so likewise were the circumstances, 
and the spirit of keen political antagonism prevented many per- 
sons from acting, or even thinking, with judicial impartiality. 

The amendment was seconded by Mr. John Beverley Robinson, 
junior member for Toronto, a son of the distinguished Chief Justice 
of Upper Canada. The debate upon it lasted from the middle of 
the afternoon until past midnight A vote was then taken, and 
it. was found that the Ministry were in a minority of forty; and 
this on an amendment which was a direct motion of want of 
confidence. They were indeed doubly in a minority, for even in 
Upper Canada, where their main almost their only strength lay, 
there was a majority of two votes against them. Only four Lower 
Canadian votes were recorded in their favour. 

submitting it WM well chosen. LM hints would not, in all probability, have altered the 
rote ; perhaps it might hare increased the majority by which it was affirmed. In any 
case it would hare placed the proceeding beyond the reproach of unfairness, and have 
effectually removed it from the grave imputation, which has been affixed to it by many, 
<>f being wanting in Parliamentary courtesy. . . The proceeding appeared to lack 
generosity, and though it offended no rule, it was not, so far as we are aware, supported 
by any example of Parliament." Portrait! of SritM American*, Vol. II., p. 239. 

376 The Last Forty Tears. 

In the Upper House, on the same evening, opinion was also 
strongly expressed against the Government. Mr. Morris having 
made similar announcements to those made in the Assembly by Mr. 
Patrick, a long debate followed, which was participated in by 
twenty-five out of the twenty-eight members present. Speeches 
specially condemnatory of the Administration were made by Mr. 
Vankoughnet and Colonel Prince. A motion of want of confidence, 
moved by Mr. Patton,* was carried by a vote of 16 to 8, and an 
address to the Governor, founded upon it, passed on a similar divi- 
sion. The address was duly engrossed and presented to his Excel- 
lency. This passing of a vote of want of confidence in Ministers 
who had not had time to seek reelection, and who had not declared 
their policy, was certainly a harsh proceeding, and had no exemplar 
in our history. Mr. Cauchon was so sensible of the harshness that 
he declined to record his vote on either side. The proceeding, how- 
ever, can hardly be said to have been wholly without excuse, for 
the Ministry had committed a grave error in making no attempt to 
disclose anything in the shape of a policy, and they had no right 
to expect forbearance from those whom they had so unsparingly 
opposed all through the session. 

In such a contingency there was a very plain alternative before 
the Government. They must either obtain an immediate dissolu- 
tion of Parliament, or resign. They recognized the necessities of 
their position, and on the morning of Tuesday, the 3rd, Mr. Brown 
waited upon his Excellency. The discussion of four days before 
was resumed, and Mr. Brown, on behalf of himself and his col- 
leagues, advised an immediate prorogation, to be followed by 
dissolution. The Governor perceived the necessity of acting with 
circumspection, and requested that the grounds upon which the 
advice was preferred should be put in writing. The request was 
complied with, and a memorandum was prepared for his Excel- 

* Mr. Patton sat in the Upper House for the Saugeen Division, having been elected in 

The Short Administration. 377 

Icncy's consideration. It set forth, among other grounds, that the 
Assembly, as then constituted, did not, in the opinion of the exist- 
ing Cabinet, possess the confidence of the country ; that many seats 
had been obtained by corruption and fraud at the last election ;* that 
strong sectional feelings had arisen in the country, and had seriously 
impeded the carrying on of the Government ; and that the present 
Government had taken office with the fixed determination to pro- 
pose constitutional measures for the establishment of harmony 
between Upper and Lower Canada. The memorandum having 
been delivered at Government House, nothing further could be 
done until his Excellency's reply should be received. In the course 
of the afternoon, after the transaction of some formal and unim- 
portant business in the Assembly, Mr. Patrick, on behalf of the 
Government, asked for and obtained an adjournment until the 
following day. 

At two o'clock in the afternoon of Wednesday, the 4th, the 
Governor's reply was received by Mr. Brown. It was an elaborate 
document, and much skill had evidently been employed in its pre- 
paration. It traversed, step by step, the ground covered by Mr. 
Brown's memorandum. It drew attention to the fact that if, as 
alleged, the existing House of Assembly did not truly represent 
the Canadian people, there had been no sufficient reason for the 
resignation of the late Government. In view of the fact that a 
general election had taken place a few months before, his Excellency 
did not think proper to put the country to the expense and incon- 
venience of another, unless very strong grounds could be shown for 
such a proceeding. With respect to the corruption and bribery 
alleged to have been practised, it was asked : " What assurance can 
his Excellency have that a new election, under precisely the same 
laws, held within six or eight months of the last, will differ in its 

* This wan undeniable, and a considerable put of the iiminn had been contumed in 
ducuuiont arising out of contested election caw*. 

378 The Last Forty Tears. 

character from that which then took place?" "If the facts are as 
they are stated to be," pursued his Excellency, with scarcely 
repressed sarcasm, " they might be urged as a reason why a general 
election should be avoided as long as possible : at any rate until the 
laws are made more stringent, and the precautions against such evils 
shall have been increased by the wisdom of Parliament." The sec- 
tional feeling between Upper and Lower Canada was admitted to 
be a grave question, but before granting a dissolution on that 
ground, his Excellency desired to have some evidence that the 
measures adopted by Mr. Brown and his colleagues would be " a 
specific, and the only specific" for the evil; and that the members 
of the existing Government would be the only men in the country 
likely to calm the passions and allay the jealousies so unhappily 
existing. " It may be," continued the Governor, " that both pro- 
positions are true, but unless they are established to his Excellency's 
complete satisfaction, the mere existence of the mischief is not in 
itself decisive as to the propriety of resorting to a general election 
at the present moment. The certainty, or at any rate the great pro- 
bability, of the cure by the course proposed, and by that alone, 
would require to be also proved. Without this, a great present evil 
would be voluntarily incurred for the chance of a remote good. It 
would seem to be the duty of his Excellency to exhaust every 
possible alternative before subjecting the Province for the second 
time in the same year to the cost, the inconvenience, and the 
demoralization of such a proceeding. The Governor-General is by 
no means satisfied that every alternative has been thus exhausted, 
or that it would be impossible for him to secure a Ministry who 
would close the business of this session and carry on the adminis- 
tration of the Government during the recess with the confidence of 
a majority of the Legislative Assembly." His Excellency concluded 
his memorandum by declining, " after full and mature deliberation," 
to accede to the request for a dissolution of Parliament. 

The Governor-General's conduct at this crisis aroused the hot 

The Short Administration. 37D 

anger of Mr. Brown and his followers, and the feeling was destined 
to survive until long after Sir Edmund had ceased to exert any 
influence over Canadian affairs. The Reform press, with The Olobe 
at its head, poured out the vials of its wrath in no stinted tide. Many 
English journals joined in the wholesale denunciation of the Gov- 
ernor, and drew uncomplimentary parallels between him and Sir 
Charles Metcalfe. IB some parts of Upper Canada the tone of 
the public mind was for some days almost revolutionary. It 
was broadly hinted that Chief Justice Draper, who had long since 
returned from his English mission, and who was a frequent guest at 
Government House, was the real author of the Governor's cunningly- 
worded memorandum. It was even said, and doubtless believed, that 
all through the transactions above described there had been a secret 
understanding, express or implied, between the Governor-General 
and the leader of the Macdouald-Cartier Government, and that the 
Queen's representative had actually lent himself to the underhand 
designs of an unscrupulous party-politician, who wished to get rid of 
the Opposition leaders for the time.* Such a charge, it would seem, 
ought to carry its refutation upon its face, but even at the present 
day there are intelligent persons in Canada so blinded by prejudice as 
to seriously profess belief in it In the opinion of the present writer 
such a belief has not a tittle of evidence to support it, and is simply 
preposterous. It has ever been the fashion of disappointed political 
aspirants to be suspicious of those in authority ; but the suspicion, 
in the case under review, would seem to have passed all legitimate 
bounds. It may be conceded that Sir Edmund had no partiality 
for Mr. Brown, and that he was mentally unjust in estimating that 

* The Opposition leaden, by accepting office, of course vacated their seaU, and were 
thus debarred from taking their seats in Parliament until after their reelection. A few 
weeks, however, would suffice for their reelection, and why Mr. Macdonald should have 
been specially anxious to " get rid " of them at that particular time, especially when there 
was a decided probability of their soon being restored to their seats, is a matter not easy 
to explain. Certainly no explanation that has ever been given is sufficient to justify 
the aspersions cast upon Sir Edmund Head. 

380 The Last Forty Years. 

gentleman's character. He at any rate in 1858 regarded him as 
a mere obstructionist, who was inordinately ambitious of power, and 
ever on the alert to embarrass the Government for his own ends. 
That such an estimate was far from accurate will now be disputed 
by few, but Mr. Brown's contemporaries a quarter of a century ago 
were by no means so capable of doing justice to his aims as we are 
at the present day. Doubtless Sir Edmund was prejudiced against 
most of the Reform leaders, and there was a misty vein of narrow- 
ness in his intellectual vision, which did not always permit him to 
see through clear glasses. His treatment of Mr. Brown was un- 
necessarily arbitrary. It was deficient in frankness, and devoid of 
large-mindedness. It is even probable enough that the events 
of the first week in August may have been partly foreseen by the 
Governor and by Chief Justice Draper, as well as by Mr. Macdonald 
and his colleagues. But, so much being conceded, there is no dis- 
coverable ground for aspersing his Excellency's memory by charges 
which there has never been any serious attempt to substantiate by 
evidence. A careful study of all the circumstances must convince a 
dispassionate enquirer that Sir Edmund, though imbued with a 
decided leaning in favour of the men he had found in power upon 
his assumption of the Government and who had been in power 
ever since was nevertheless sincerely desirous of acting up to the 
spirit and letter of the constitution, and of holding the balance 
fairly between the rival parties. And it further appears that he 
carried out his desire, and was substantially just, though he allowed 
his preferences to become somewhat too apparent, and though his 
conduct was neither amiable nor diplomatic. 

So far as to his Excellency's motives. The constitutionality of 
his conduct affords more room for argument ; though even there his 
diplomacy seems to have been more at fault than his law. At a 
first glance it certainly appears inconsistent that he should entrust 
the formation of a Government to a gentleman whose supporters 
were notoriously in a minority in the Assembly ; and that he 

The Short Administration. 381 

should then, after his behests had been obeyed, refuse to afford that 
gentleman an opportunity of strengthening his position. As the 
Assembly was then constituted, it was utterly out of the question 
that any Government formed by Mr. Brown should command a 
majority of votes. Why, then, it may be asked, did the Governor 
go through the farce of allowing Mr. Brown to form a Government 
which must inevitably be defeated ? The answer to this query is 
two-fold. In the first place, it was not generally believed that Mr. 
Brown would be able to obtain any such support in Lower Canada 
as would enable him to form a Ministry at all. In the second place, 
supposing him to have been successful in forming a Ministry, various 
contingencies might happen from day to day to alter the tone of 
feeling in the Assembly. But in any case, as the Government had 
resigned, it was his Excellency's duty to afford the Opposition the 
means of testing their strength under ministerial prestige, and if 
he had failed to do so he would have brought down upon hi < head 
the merited thunders of the Reform press. Mr. Brown's own 
newspaper declared again and again that that gentleman would 
have no difficulty in forming a Government which would command 
a majority in the Assembly. The opportunity was afforded, and 
Mr. Brown doubtless made tho most of it, but the most proved 
to be insufficient, and no special circumstances occurred to turn 
the tide in his favour. The Governor's reply to the demand 
made upon him for a dissolution was fully borne out by the 
facts of the case. The Macdonald-Cartier Government had re- 
signed voluntarily, and in the face of a vote which showed that 
they possessed the confidence of a majority of the Assembly. Their 
successors, on the other hand, had been met by a direct vote of want 
of confidence in both Houses. In the Assembly they had been de- 
feated by a majority of 40 in a House of 102. The full membership 
was only 130, so that even if all the other 28 members had been 
present, and if every one of them had voted to sustain the Brown- 
Dorion Government, the latter would still have been in a minority. 

382 T/te Last Forty Years. 

In the Upper House the vote against them was two to one. The 
Governor was not bound to grant a dissolution upon the advice of a 
Ministry which did not possess the confidence of either branch of 
the Legislature, more especially when no imperative grounds for 
such a step were established. There was no new question upon 
which to found a fresh appeal to the country. There was no dis- 
ruption of party ties ; no such change in the position of affairs as 
to leave room for doubt that the Macdonald-Cartier Government 
could still command a working majority in the Assembly. It was 
clearly the Governor's duty, as he alleged, to exhaust every possible 
alternative before dissolving a Parliament that had been elected 
only seven months before. 

The determination arrived at by the Governor rendered it incum- 
bent upon Mr. Brown and his colleagues to tender their resignations, 
which they lost no time in doing. This was on Wednesday, the 
4th.* The same afternoon Mr. Lewis Wallbridge, member for 
South Hastings, announced the resignation to the Assembly, and, 
having received authority to that effect, he also communicated to 
the House the correspondence between the head of the Government 
and Mr. Brown. A long and acrid debate followed, in the course of 
which Mr. McGee spoke with much earnestness against the course 
pursued by the Governor ; and Mr. John A. Macdonald indignantly 
repudiated the insinuations which had been made as to collusion 
between the Governor and himself. 

Upon the resignation of the Brown-Dorion Ministry, his Ex- 
cellency applied to Mr. Gait, member for Sherbrooke. That gentle- 
man had developed high Parliamentary qualifications during the 
last two or three sessions, and had come to be regarded with much 
respect in the Assembly, where he took a specially conspicuous part 

It will be seen from the text that Mr. Brown and his colleagues were sworn in shortly 
after noon on Monday, the 2nd, so that they were only actually in office about forty -eight 
hours. They nominally held their portfolios until the appointment of their successors on 
the 6th, but their tenure of office was not signalized by a single act, Parliamentary or 

Tfie Short Administration. 383 

in the discussion of questions relating to trade and finance. He had 
also become an advocate of a federal union of the British North 
American Provinces, and during the current session had introduced 
that subject to the Assembly in a telling speech. He possessed a 
judicial mind, which impelled him to look at every side of a 
question before pronouncing a decision upon it. Being inde- 
pendent and moderate in his opinions, he persistently refused to 
connect himself with the violent partisanship of either side. He 
had given a general support to the Macdonald-Cartier Government, 
but had not hesitated to vote against them on several occasions. As 
a necessary consequence of his independence, however, he occupied 
an almost isolated position in the Assembly, and had no appreciable 
following. He was, moreover, a staunch supporter of Protestantism, 
and was in consequence not regarded with special favour by the 
Roman Catholic representatives of Lower Canada, whose hearty co- 
operation was absolutely essential to any man seeking to form a 
stable Ministry. Feeling that he could not hope to be successful in 
any attempt in that direction, he wisely declined the task which the 
Governor sought to impose upon him. His Excellency then, at Mr. 
Gait's suggestion, had recourse to Mr. Macdonald's late colleague, 
Mr. Cartier, who had at that time the largest Parliamentary follow- 
ing in the Assembly. Mr. Cartier readily undertook and fulfilled 
the task of forming an Administration, choosing his materials almost 
entirely from the Macdonald-Cartier Government which had resigned 
a week before. Mr. Cayley and Mr. Loranger were left out, and Mr. 
Gait and Mr. George Sherwood took their places. Mr. Gait's financial 
ability rendered him specially acceptable to a Government which had 
to face a serious deficit in the exchequer. Mr. Sherwood had served 
his party long and faithfully, and it was considered that his services 
wne well worthy of such recognition as they now received. 

The Cartier-Macdonald Administration was formed on the Cth of 
August Its accession to power was substantially a resumption of 
office by the Macdonald-Cartier Government. Its composition, with 

384 The Last Forty Years. 

the two exceptions above mentioned, was the same. It was guided 
by the same minds, and its policy remained practically unaltered. 
The leaders in the two sections of the latter were the same as in 
those of the former. So far, well. But, in direct violation of the 
spirit of the law, the members of the old Government who now 
resumed office did not return to their constituents for reelection. 
By the seventh section of a statute passed during the session of 
1857, intituled " An Act further to secure the Independence of Par- 
liament," it was enacted that " Whenever any person holding the 
office of Receiver-General, Inspector-General, Secretary of the Prov- 
ince, Commissioner of Crown Lands, Attorney-General, Solicitor- 
General, Commissioner of Public Works, Speaker of the Legislative 
Council, President of Committees of the Executive Council, Minister 
of Agriculture or Postmaster-General, and being at the same time a 
member of the Legislative Assembly or an elected member of the 
Legislative Council, shall resign his office, and within one month 
after his resignation accept any other of the said offices, he shall not 
thereby vacate his seat in the said Assembly or Council." The 
object of this enactment was merely to enable casual interchanges 
or transfers of portfolios whenever required by the exigencies of the 
public service. But there was nothing in the Act to so restrict its 
application ; nothing to prevent such a proceeding as now took place. 
The letter of the statute was not transgressed, for only eight days 
elapsed between the demiasion of the 29th of July and the 
resumption on the 6th of August. The portfolios accepted on the 
6th by such Ministers, at least, as were members of the Assembly 
were different from those which had been held by the same persons 
in the former Administration ; so that the technical requirements of 
the Act were complied with. Mr. Cartier became Inspector-General, 
Mr. Macdonald Postmaster-General, Mr. Sicotte Commissioner of 
Public Works, Mr. Alleyn Provincial Secretary, Mr. Rose Receiver- 
General, and Mr. Sidney Smith President of the Council and 
Minister of Agriculture. Messieurs Vankoughnet and Belleau, 

Tht Short Administration. 3V> 

being members of the Upper House, and under no necessity to 
appeal to popular suffrage, were reinstated in the offices they had 
previously held. But there was no intention of permitting the 
arrangements of the 6th of August to remain undisturbed. The 
law having been complied with, there was no strict legal objec- 
tion to further readjustments, and on the 7th Mr. Cartier and Mr. 
Macdonald resumed their former portfolios of Attorneys-General 
East and West respectively. Mr. Smith was at the same time 
restored to the Postmaster-Generalship. When all arrangements 
had been completed, the adjustment of the portfolios was as follows : 


The Hon. G. E. Cartier, Premier, and Attorney-General East. 
" " A. T. Gait, Inspector-General. 
" " N. F. Belleau, Speaker of the Legislative Council. 
" " L. V. Sicotte, Minister of Public Worka 
" " Charles Alleyn, Provincial Secretary. 


The Hon. J. A. Macdonald, Attorney-General West 
" " P. M. Vankoughnet, Commissioner of Crown Lands. 
" " Sidney Smith, Postmaster-General. 
" " John Ross, President of the Council. 
" " George Sherwood, Receiver-General 

On the same day Mr. Rose resumed the Solicitor-Generalship 
for Lower Canada which he had vacated on the 29th ultimo. The 
corresponding office for Upper Canada remained vacant for a year 
and a half thereafter.* 

But, though there was no breach of the letter of the law, there 
was such a manifest evasion of its spirit that the moral sense of the 

It had also remained vacant from the time of Mr. Henry Smith'* resignation, at the 
opening f the ae.uion of 1858, until the acceptance of the office by Dr. Connor on the 2nd 
of August ; 10 that about two yean elapsed during which there wu really no Solicitor- 
General for Upper Canada. 

SSfi The Last Forty Tears. 

community was shocked. There was a general feeling that the 
Independence of Parliament Act had been wrested from its true 
purpose, and that the constitution had been trifled with. It was 
evident that the shuffling of portfolios had been resorted to merely 
for the purpose of relieving Ministers from the necessity of appeal- 
ing to their constituents. Indeed, Mr. Cartier's frank explanations 
to the Assembly on the 7th of August left no room for doubt on 
that head. He expressly stated that " the course followed in the 
appointments " had been adopted " to meet the requirements of the 
law, and at the same time to prevent any unnecessary elections." 
The Assembly condoned the proceeding,* but the condonation found 
only a feeble echo beyond the walls of Parliament, and many influ- 
ential voices were raised in condemnation of this " Double Shuffle," 
as it was called. Expressions of hostile opinion were not confined 
to that section of the press that usually followed the lead of The 
Globe. It was regarded as no light thing that Ministers should 
have taken a solemn oath to discharge the duties pertaining to 
certain offices, when they had no intention of holding those offices 
long enough to admit of their performing any official act whatever. 
Proceedings were instituted in the courts of law to test the legality 
of the conduct of some of the offending Ministers. By the Act of 
1857, already referred to, persons sitting and voting in the Assembly 
while legally disqualified, were declared liable to pecuniary penalties. 
Actions were accordingly brought by a private individual against 
three of the Ministers to recover these penalties. The arguments 
were heard by way of demurrer at Osgoode Hall, Toronto, in the 
following November. The judgments, which were rendered in 
December, uniformly exonerated the defendants from liability in 
respect of the statutory penalties, and declared that the letter of 
the law had not been violated.-f But there has never been any 

See Journals Leg. Ass., 1858, pp. 973-976, 1001. 
tSe 17 U.C.Q.B. Reports, 310; 8 U.C.C.P. 479. 

The Short Administration. 387 

difference of opiniou as to the moral turpitude of the Double 
Shuffle, and the law has since been so modified as to prevent any 
repetition of the proceeding.* 

It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that during the whole of the 
transactions described in the last few pages, the leading spirits of 
both the rival political parties were more solicitous for power than 
for their country's welfare. In the absence of an express pledge 
from the Governor on the subject of a dissolution, Mr. Brown was 
unwise to undertake the formation of a Government which could 
only hope to live in the event of something unusual and unforeseen 
taking place. His failure was injurious to his own reputation for 
sagacity, and certainly did not conduce to the interests of his party. 
The Double Shuffle was a much more culpable affair, and can be de- 
fended if defended at all on no other plea than that of temporary 
expediency, which has been the defence offered through all time for 
derelictions otherwise inexcusable. It was a serious political offence, 
and has ever since formed a ground of attack against those who 
committed it. An attempt has been made to excuse Mr. Macdonald's 
participation therein upon the ground that he all along disapproved 
of it ; that he opposed it at the Council Board, and only consented 
to it at last because, like the unjust judge in Scripture, he was 
wearied by continual importunity; the importunity, of course, pro- 
ceeding from his colleagues. The apology reminds one of Pem- 
broke's dictum, in King John: 

"OfUntimM excusing of a fault 
Doth make the fault the worse by the excuM." 

The most culpable of all offences are those which are committed 
against light and knowledge. Whoso knoweth his lord's will and 
doeth it not shall be beaten with many stripes. Mr. Macdonald, as 
the leading spirit of the Government of that day, is entitled to bear 

See Dominion Statute of 1878, chap. 5, ec. 3, which u an adaptation of the Provin- 
cial (Ontario) Statute 1868-9, chap. 4, tec. 7. 

388 The Last Forty Years. 

his full share of responsibility for the Double Shuffle, and the weight 
cannot be shifted from his shoulders by any evasion on the score of 
expediency. An equally potent excuse might be found for some of 
the darkest crimes in the calendar. The true hero is not the man 
who never knew fear, but the man who, fearing greatly, yet demeans 
himself valiantly. The palm for true bravery is due to the man who 
grows pale at the dangers lying in his path, and who yet, because he 
knows it to be his duty, proceeds on his way, and nobly fronts the 
danger. So with statesmanship. The true statesman is the man 
who, fully appreciating all the risk of a particular course, neverthe- 
less adopts that course and persists in it because he knows it to be 
the right one. The rule inculcating a different line of conduct is not 
statesmanship, but Machiavelism. And with these condemnatory 
remarks the writer is very glad to dismiss the subject from his pages. 
The reconstructed Government found themselves supported by a 
considerable majority. Mr. Cartier announced their policy to be 
the same as had been foreshadowed in the Speech from the Throne 
at the opening of the session; but he added that in view of the 
recent vote on the Seat of Government question, the new Ministry 
did not feel themselves warranted in incurring an expenditure for 
public buildings until Parliament should have an opportunity of 
reconsidering the subject. It was further announced that the expe- 
diency of a federation of the British North American Provinces 
would be anxiously considered ; that communication with the 
Home Government and the Maritime Provinces on the subject 
would forthwith be entered into; and that the result would be 
submitted to Parliament at a future session. The repudiation of 
the double-majority principle had increased the agitation in Upper 
Canada on the subject of Representation by Population, and 
the idea of a general federation of the Provinces had presented 
itself to the minds of several of our leading statesmen as a possible 
solution of the problem which stared the country in the face. Mr. 
Gait, as has been seen, had already brought the subject before the 

The Stiort Administration. 389 

Assembly; and upon his entry into the Government he insisted 
upon its being taken up as a Cabinet question. Hence Mr. Cartier's 
announcement of it as a plank in the ministerial platform.' It may 
here be added that the promises made on behalf of the Government 
in this particular were redeemed, but no decisive action was taken 
for some time thereafter, in consequence of the resignation of the 
Derby Government, which took place in June of the following year./ 

The session had already lasted more than five months, and the 
legislative and other necessary business was carried through to a 
speedy close. A number of important measures passed their third 
reading ; others -were dropped, to be heard of no more. It should 
here be mentioned that the question of " Protection to Home Indus- 
tries " first came before a Canadian Parliament as a matter for 
Provincial legislation during the session of 1858. It was intro- 
duced by Mr. Cayley in connection with certain amendments to the 
tariff, and was rendered necessary by the unsatisfactory state of the 
revenue. Rates of 20 and 25 per cent were imposed upon certain 
commodities, and a general rate of 15 per cent on all articles not 
specially enumerated or exempted. The tariff of the following year, 
which is frequently referred to as the beginning of Canadian protec- 
tion, was merely " an enlargement and expansion " of that of 1858.* 

Parliament was prorogued on the 16th of August. Within a few 
weeks afterwards all the members of the late Brown-Dorion Gov- 
ernment had been reelected, as had also the new ministers, Messieurs 
Gait and Sherwood. During the progress of the late session, Mr. 
Brown, who, it will be remembered, had been returned for two con- 
stituencies, elected to sit for Toronto. North Oxford being thus 
Irft unrepresented, Mr. William McDougall, who was backed by Mr. 
Brown's influence, was returned for that constituency by a consider- 
able majority over the ministerial candidate, Mr. J. C. Morrisoa 
Mr. McDougall had been used by his party as a sort of forlorn 
hope, and had been defeated in several constituencies; but his 

Sec the Introduction to Mr. John Molu>'i " Tariff Hand-Book." 

390 The Last Forty Years. 

perseverance at last met its reward, and he has ever since been 
conspicuous among our public men. His election took place in May. 
so that he was able to take his seat in Parliament several months 
before the close of the session. He took a prominent part in the 
debates arising out of the exciting questions which agitated the 
Assembly during the last few weeks of the session, and was an 
undoubted accession to the Opposition ranks. 

The month of August was signalized by the completion of tele- 
graphic communication between Europe and America ; but scarcely 
had the first international messages of congratulation been trans- 
mitted ere the communication was interrupted in consequence of the 
inefficient manner in which the cable had been laid, and years wen: 
yet to elapse before the two continents were to be permanently 
brought into that intimate relation which now subsists between 
them. The year was also rendered noteworthy by the raising of 
the 100th Regiment in Canada, as an addition to the regular army 
of Great Britain ; and by the death of Robert Baldwin on the 9th 
of December an event which has been recorded on a former page.* 

The only ministerial changes which marked the close of the year 
consisted of the withdrawal of Mr. Sicotte, whose retirement was 
due to a difference with his colleagues on the subject of the Seat of 
Government. He was of opinion that, in consequence of the vote 
in the Assembly on the 28th of the preceding July, the Government 
were not bound to act upon the Imperial decision in favour of 
Ottawa. In this view the other members of the Ministry could 
not concur, and Mr. Sicotte accordingly retired on the 24th of 
December. He was succeeded in the Commissionership of Public 
Works by Mr. Rose, who assumed office on the llth of January fol- 
lowing. The Solicitor-Generalship for Lower Canada thenceforward 
remained vacant throughout the year 1859 ; so that, except during 
the first ten days of January, there was no Solicitor-General for 
either section of the Province during that year. 

'Ante, Vol. II., p 244. 



" \Vht then U the remedy best adapted to deliver the Province from the disastrous 
ixuition it now occupies? We answer : Diuolve the exliting Legislative Union. Divide 
( 'anuU into two or more Provinces, with local Executives and Legislature* having entire 
control over every public interest except those, and those only, that are necessarily com- 
mon to all parts of the Province. . . Establish some central authority over all, with 
power to administer such matter*, and such only, as are necessarily common to the whole 
Province. Let the functions of this central authority be clearly laid down let its powers 
be strictly confined to discharging specified duties. Prohibit it from incurring any new 
debt, or levying more taxation than is required to mert the interact of existing obliga- 
tions, discharge its own specified duties, and gradually pay off the national debt Secure 
thene rights by a written Constitution, ratified by the people, and Incapable of alteration 
except by their formal sanction." ADDRESS or THE CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM AJUOCIA- 
TIOX TO THE Piortl or UfPEB CANADA, d*Ud at Toronto, frbruary 16tk, 1S60. 

HE hard times, though they had spent their worst fury, 
had by no means wholly passed away, and the advent of 
1859 found the Province still struggling with a consider- 
' able amount of business depression. Parliament had been 
summoned for an earlier date than usual, and met on the 
20th of January. It remained in session until the 4th 
of May. The Government commanded a fair majority on matters of 
general policy, though the Opposition presented a most determined 
front, and though the session was marked by several exciting debates. 
In the Speech from the Throne pronounced at the opening, the 
attention of the Houses was specially drawn to the Seat of Govern- 
ment question. " I cannot doubt," remarked his Excellency, " that 
you will recognize a selection made by Her Majesty at your own 
request, and that you will duly acknowledge her gracious compli- 

392 The Last Forty Years. 

ance with the addresses which you yourselves caused to be presented 
to her." The Address in Reply echoed this sentiment, which, how- 
ever, did not meet with anything like universal acceptance in Par- 
liament. Various amendments were proposed, and the ensuing 
discussions evoked strong expressions of disapproval at the choice 
of Ottawa ; but the Government stood to their guns, and the dis- 
puted clause was carried by a narrow majority of five. The vexed 
question of the Seat of Government was thus disposed of.* 

Among the most important of the 131-f measures passed during 
the session were an Act to amend and consolidate the several Acts 
respecting the Public Works, and a new Tariff Act. The latter, 
as already mentioned, was an expansion of the measure of the 
previous session, and the principal change effected by it was the 
imposition of twenty instead of fifteen per cent, on all com- 
modities not specifically enumerated. Its introduction devolved, 
of course, upon the new Inspector-General, Mr. Gait, who made 
an able exposition of the Provincial finance on the occasion. The 
thin end of the wedge of Protection was by this time clearly 
inserted ; but the responsibility for its insertion rests neither upon 
Mr. Cayley, who introduced the measure of 1858, nor upon 
Mr. Gait, who introduced that of 1859. The real author of 
Canadian Protection was Mr. Isaac Buchanan, of Hamilton, whose 
active interest in trade questions has already been referred to, and 
who for some time prior to 1859 had been doing his utmost to dis- 
seminate views in opposition to the alleged principles of free-trade. 
By his frequent contributions to the press, and by his personal 
influence, Mr. Buchanan had won many converts to his opinions, 
more especially among the wholesale mercantile community of 

The selection of Ottawa, though nominally the Act of Her Majesty, was made upon 
the advice of Sir Edmund Head, who feared a disruption of the Union on the Seat of 
Government question, and regarded Ottawa as a sort of compromise between the rival 
claims of the two sections of the Province. See ante, p. 367. 

t Exclusive of a divorce bill reserved for Imperial sanction. 

The Eve of Confederation. 393 

Canada. The latter had recognized the importance of united 
action, and had held public meetings in Toronto and Montreal, at 
which economical questions had been freely discussed, and resolu- 
tions passed in favour of such a readjustment of the tariff as would 
afford greater encouragement to Home manufactures. Mr. Bu- 
chanan had never failed to attend these meetings, and to make his 
presence felt thereat. Petitions, numerously signed, had been pre- 
sented to the Assembly on the subject, and a new scale of customs 
rates, prepared by Mr. Buchanan himself, had been submitted to the 
Inspector-General, accompanied by strong arguments for its adoption. 
By these and other means a good deal of pressure had been brought to 
bear upon the Government. The Tariff Acts of 1858 and 1859 were 
largely due to this pressure, and the effect of the " national policy " 
soon began to make itself perceptibly felt in an improved state of 
the revenue. The consequences of the reckless expenditure of past 
years could not be remedied in a moment, but there was a marked 
improvement from the time of Mr. Gait's accession to office. His 
high character and great financial ability did much to restore public 
confidence, and his efforts were greatly promoted in the course of 
the year by a bountiful harvest. The Tariff Act of 1859, however, 
was probably the most important factor in enabling Mr. Gait, in his 
next annual report, to show an increase of revenue over expendi- 
ture ; and of that Act, as has been seen, Mr. Buchanan is entitled to 
claim at least a full share of parentage. 

Two other Acts passed during the session of 1859 call for a few 
words of mention. The first made provision for facilitating the 
redemption of Provincial debentures, and the consolidation of the 
public debt. It abolished the name of "Inspector-General," as applied 
to the head of the Department of Finance, and substituted therefor 
the title of " Minister of Finance," by which that official has ever 
since been designated. The other measure above referred to, which 
was introduced and carried through the Assembly under the 

394 The Last Forty Years. 

auspices of Attorney-General Cartier, made an effectual disposition 
of the Seigniorial Tenure question, by appropriating a sum for 
the redemption of certain feudal obligations which, notwithstand- 
ing the provision made by the Act of 1854, still pressed upon the 
habitans of Lower Canada. The appropriation was opposed with 
great firmness by the Upper Canadian Opposition, who denounced 
it as an attempted robbery of the western section of the Province. 
The Lower Canadians, however, took an equally determined stand 
in its favour, only one* of their number being found to refuse 
his support, and the Act passed its third reading in the Assembly 
by a vote of 66 to 28. In the Upper House it was subjected to 
certain amendments, which were agreed to by the Assembly, and 
it accordingly became law. Though it got rid of a grievance of 
long standing, the Upper Canadian Clear Grits could not bring 
themselves to regard it otherwise than as a gross injustice to their 
own section. " Can we long continue," asked their chief organ, "in 
connection with a people with whom we differ so widely as we 
do with the French Canadians ?"-f- The stand taken respectively 
by the Clear Grits and Rouges at this juncture caused a breach 
between them which was never wholly repaired, and which, by 
disorganizing the Opposition, tended to strengthen the hands of 
the Government. 

As the session drew towards its close a temporary conflict arose 
between the two Houses in consequence of the refusal of the Legis- 
lative Council to adopt the Supply Bill. Parliament having by this 
time met at Toronto for four successive years, arrangements had 
been made for removing the Seat of Government to Quebec at the 
close of the current session, where it was to remain until new build- 
ings should be erected at Ottawa. During the debate on the 
Address in the Upper House, a majority of members had pro- 

* Mr. 11. B. Somerville, member for Huntingdon. 
t See The Globe, Thursday, May 5th, 1859. 

The Eve of Confederation. 395 

nounced against the contemplated removal, which they regarded as 
an unnecessary expense. They had contended for retaining the 
capital at Toronto until it could be finally removed to Ottawa, 
by which means a good deal of cost to the country would be 
avoided. They accordingly now refused to pass an item to defray 
the expense of removal, which had been placed in the Supply Bill ; 
but when they found that their persistence would inevitably bring 
about a crisis they gave way, and relieved the Government from an 
embarrassing position. Among other proceedings which marked 
the close of the session was the passing by both Houses of an 
Address to the Queen praying that Her Majesty, accompanied by 
the Prince Consort and such members of the royal family as might 
be selected to attend her on the occasion, would " graciously deign 
to be present," at the opening, in the following year, of the Victoria 
Bridge across the St. Lawrence River at Montreal. Mr. Henry 
Smith, Speaker of the Assembly, was despatched to England to 
present the Address, and to receive Her Majesty's reply, the tenor of 
which will be given in the proper place. 

Immediately after the prorogation the departments were removed 
to Quebec, where they were destined to remain six years before 
being permanently installed at Ottawa." Notices were issued by 
the Public Works Department inviting architects to send in designs 
for the proposed Parliament Buildings to be erected at the new 
capital. The invitations were numerously responded to, and in 
the course of the autumn specifications were prepared and building 
contracts entered into. Before the close of the year operations 
were begun upon the Central Block, and the work of construction 
was thenceforward continued without serious interruption until 

The demand for Representation by Population assumed formidable 

The public office* were removed from Quebec to Ottawa in 1865, but no teaiion of the 
Lfgulature wat held at the present capital until 1866. 

396 The Last Forty Years. 

proportions in Upper Canada during the summer of 1859. The 
Government were notoriously in a minority in that section of the 
Province, and as they had abandoned the double-majority principle, 
the cry of " Lower Canadian domination " began to be loudly raised 
against them. During the second week of November an additional 
impetus was imparted to this sentiment by means of a numerously 
attended /Reform Convention held at Toronto. The avowed object 
of the Convention, which was attended by 570 prominent Reformers, 
including delegates from all parts of the Upper Province, was " to 
consider the relations between Upper and Lower Canada, and the 
financial and political evils that had resulted therefrom, and to 
devise constitutional changes fitted to remedy the said abuses, and 
to secure good government for the Province." * All the leading 
spirits of the Upper Canadian Opposition were present at this 
gathering, and delivered stirring diatribes against the Ministry. A 
series of strongly-drawn resolutions was passed, declaring, inter 
alia, that the Union of the Provinces had failed to realize the antici- 
pations of its promoters ; that it had resulted in a heavy public debt, 
burdensome taxation, great political abuses, and universal dissatis- 
faction throughout Upper Canada. Opinions were generally ex- 
pressed to the effect that the Union, as then existing, could no 
longer be continued with advantage to the people, and that the 
difficulties in the way of bringing about a Federal Union of all the 
British North Atnerican colonies would necessarily cause such delay 
as to place that measure beyond consideration as a remedy for 
existing evils. It was further resolved that the best practical 
remedy was to be found in the formation of two or more local 
governments having control over all sectional matters, and of 
some joint authority having control of matters common to the 
Province at large. The final resolution declared that no govern- 

See the recital introduced into the circular issued to the Reform members and candi- 
dates by the Reform Association of Upper Canada in 1867. 

The Eve of Confederation. 897 

ment would be satisfactory to the people of Upper Canada unless 
based on the principle of Representation by Population. A " Con- 
stitutional Reform Association " was formed for the purpose of 
carrying out the spirit of these resolutions, and of procuring the 
election to Parliament of candidates pledged to the principles 
enumerated therein. A committee was appointed to draft an 
address to the people in support of the prevalent views of the 
Convention, and embodying the resolutions in extenso. Great care 
was manifested in the preparation of this document, which was not 
fully completed and approved until the loth of February, 1860. It 
contained an elaborate exposition of public affairs from the Opposi- 
tion point of view, and was circulated broadcast throughout the 
land. There can be no doubt that it did much to pave the way for i- 
the great scheme of Confederation a fact which will be clearly 
apparent to anyone who will take the trouble to compare the text 
of the resolutions of 1859 with the British North America Act of 
1867. Its immediate effect, however, was not very apparent. The 
scheme was too large, and at the same time too indefinite, for ready 
and general comprehension, and many staunch Upper Canadian 
Reformers would have nothing to say to it. Among other less 
important personages, Mr. John Sandfield Macdonald refused to 
have act or part in so radical an inroad upon the constitution as 
would necessarily be involved in carrying out the resolutions of the 

A similar movement was set on foot in Montreal under the 
auspices of Messieurs Dorion, Drummond, McGee, and other influ- 
ential members of the Opposition. Meetings were held, at which 
the situation of affairs was very freely discussed, and the project 
of a Federal Union cordially approved. But a good many Oppo- 
sitionists held aloof, owing to their unconquerable antipathy to Mr. 
Brown ; and upon the whole the movement made little headway 
in Lower Canada. The several differences among the members of 

398 The Last Forty Years. 

the Opposition inevitably tended to prevent united action among 
them on matters of general policy, and the Government of course 
profited by the disorganization of their opponents./ 

There were no other events of historical importance during the 
year 1859. Early in 1SGO the offices of Solicitor-General East and 
West, both of which had long been vacant,* were filled by the 
appointment of Messieurs Louis Simeon Morin and J. C. Morrison. 
Mr. Morin, who sat in the Assembly for Terrebonne, was a member 
of the Lower Canada bar, and though a young man of only twenty- 
eight years, he had already made his presence felt in the Assembly 
by his talents as a speaker and general man of business. He as- 
sumed the office of Solicitor-General for Lower Canada on the 18th 
of January, and was at the same time admitted to a seat in the 
Cabinet. Within a month afterwards he was reflected by his con- 
stituents, and he continued for more than two years to hold the office 
to which he had been appointed. Mr. Morrison, who is already 
known to the reader, had no seat in Parliament. He became Solici- 
tor-General West on the 22nd of February, 1860, and held that 
office, with a seat in the Cabinet, until the month of March, 1862, 
without having meanwhile been returned for any constituency. 

The session of 1860 was opened at Quebec on Tuesday, the 28th 
of February. A despatch from the Duke of Newcastle, Colonia 
Secretary, which had been received by the Governor-General only a 
few days before, was laid before Parliament. It announced the 
receipt by Her Majesty of the joint Address of the two Houses of 
the Canadian Legislature, and testified her appreciation of the loyal 
spirit which had inspired it. Regret was expressed that Her 
Majesty's duties at the Seat of Empire were such as to preclude her 
acceptance of the invitation to be present at the opening of the 
Victoria Bridge. " Impressed, however," wrote the Secretary, " with 
an earnest desire to testify, to the utmost of her power, her warm 

Ante, pp. 385, 390. 

The Eve of Confederation. 399 

appreciation of the affectionate loyalty of her Canadian subjects, 
the Queen commands me to express her hope that when the time 
for the opening of the bridge is fixed, it may be possible for His 
Royal Highness the Prince of Wales to attend the ceremony in Her 
Majesty's name, and to witness those gratifying scenes in which the 
Queen is herself unable to participate. The Queen trusts that 
nothing may interfere with this arrangement, for it is Her Majesty's 
sincere desire that the young Prince, on whom the Crown of this 
Empire will devolve, may have the opportunity of visiting that 
portion of her dominions from which this Address has proceeded, 
and may become acquainted with a people in whose rapid progress 
towards greatness Her Majesty, in common with her subjects in 
Great Britain, feels a lively and enduring sympathy." The Governor, 
in the opening Speech, after referring to this despatch, and to 
various other matters of temporary importance, remarked upon 
the improved aspect of the finances. "If I may not congratulate 
you," said his Excellency, "upon having completely surmounted 
our financial difficulties, I think you will find that the income and 
expenditure for the past year have been such as to cause us no 
fear for the future.'' The abundant harvest and the signs of a 
revival of trade were also touched upon. In a word, the tone of 
the Speech was decidedly hopeful, and was fully justified by the 
commercial outlook. The Address in Reply was passed by each 
House at a single sitting, and with very little discussion. 

The legislation of I860, though it included various measures of 
practical utility, was not of such a nature as to call for special refer- 
ence here. All through the session the Ministry were sustained by 
considerable majorities, and were strong, rather by reason of the 
weakness and disorganization of their adversaries than from any in- 
herent strength of their own. Mr. (J. A.) Macdonald still continued 
to carry Upper Canada measures by means of majorities obtained 
from Lower Canada, and for this he encountered considerable censure 

400 The Last Forty Years. 

in his own section; but upon any question which involved the 
existence of the Ministry he could always count upon his colleague 
Mr. Cartier, and the Opposition could do little to break down the 
forces arrayed against them. Owing to the secession of some of his 
followers and the lukewarm support of others, Mr. Brown's influence 
perceptibly waned during the session. A number of Lower Canadian 
Liberals positively refused to follow his lead any longer, and Major 
Thomas Edmund Campbell, member for Rouville, in the course 
of a speech in the Assembly, publicly called upon him to 
relinquish the leadership of a party with which French Canadians 
could never unite while he remained at its head. Still, in spite of 
all defections, Mr. Brown never ceased to be formidable. No sooner 
had the Assembly fairly settled down to business, after passing the 
Address in Reply, than he began to develop the policy outlined in 
the resolutions of the Toronto Convention. He introduced two 
motions embodying all the most important principles which had been 
resolved upon : namely, that the Union was a failure, and could not 
be advantageously maintained ; and that the best remedy was to be 
found in the formation of two or more local governments, with some 
joint authority, "charged with such matters as are necessarily 
common to both sections of the Province." These motions, which 
were seconded by Mr. Mowat, naturally gave rise to stirring debates, 
and evoked strong expressions of opinion. Mr. Brown supported 
them by the most eloquent and statesmanlike speech that up to that 
time had ever fallen from his lips. They were however defeated by 
overwhelming majorities ; the former by 60 to 27, the latter by 74 
to 32. There was a manifest disposition to laugh at Mr. Brown's 
schemes as the visionary imaginings of a disappointed man. The 
joint authority scheme gave occasion to some specially facetious 
remarks, and one speaker declared that the bee in Mr. Brown's 
bonnet must be of more portentous dimensions than the bonnet 
itself. But the whirligig of time brings its revenges. The day 

The Eve of Confederation. 401 

was not far distant when this identical joint authority scheme was 
to commend itself to the mature intelligence of the ablest statesmen 
of two continents, as the true and only remedy for a dead-lock in 
Canadian public affairs. 

After having sat for not quite three months, Parliament was pro- 
rogued on the 19th of May, upon the understanding that the 
members should reassemble to welcome the Prince of Wales upon 
his arrival at Quebec in the course of the summer. During the next 
three months the country was agog with expectation. Never had 
the promised advent of any human being been looked forward to in 
Canada with Such enthusiasm ; nor was this much to be wondered 
at, for the expected visitor was not merely the representative of Her 
Majesty, but the heir-apparent to the British throne. Whatever may 
be the case at the present day, loyalty was not an effete sentiment 
in Canada twenty-two years ago, and all classes of the people vied 
with each other to do honour to the winsome young man who 
represented the might and majesty of the Imperial Crown. Nor 
were there any personal grounds for abating the love and respect 
which such a guest was well calculated to inspire. Albert Edward, 
Prince of Wales, was then "in the morn and liquid dew of youth." 
He was endowed with an attractive person and a manner becoming 
to his high rank. His reputation was unclouded. Scandal had not 
busied itself with his name; or if it had, the sound had not been 
borne across the Atlantic. Everything that was known about him 
was in his favour, and the opinions currently entertained of him 
were golden. Then, there was & less elevated aspect in which it 
was possible to look at the matter. Regarded from a purely selfish 
point of view, the visit of so distinguished a personage was certain 
to be advantageous to Canada as an advertisement, and the eyes of 
the world would be at least temporarily directed to our shores. The 
preparations for His Royal Highness's reception were of the most 
elaborate and costly character in all the principal cities and towns. 

402 The Last Forty Years. 

Parliament had made liberal provision for the emergency, and this 
provision was liberally supplemented by the local corporations. 

The Prince, accompanied by the Duke of Newcastle, Colonial 
Secretary, and a numerous suite, sailed from Plymouth on the 10th 
of July. A fortnight later they landed at St. John's, Newfoundland, 
whence, after remaining several days, they proceeded to Halifax, 
Nova Scotia. St. John and Fredericton, the two principal towns 
of New Brunswick, were next visited, after which the party pro- 
ceeded to Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Thence they 
embarked for Canada. At Gaspe they were met by the Governor- 
General and nearly all the members of the Ministry, who had 
proceeded thither to welcome the royal guest. The reception 
at Quebec took place on the 18th of August. On the 21st the 
two branches of the Legislature presented to His Royal High- 
ness addresses expressive of devoted attachment to the person 
and Crown of his royal mother. By letters patent received from 
England subsequent to his arrival in this country, the Prince had 
been created Viceroy of all the British North American colonies, 
and by virtue of the creation he was empowered to confer the 
honour of knighthood. This power he now exercised by investing 
Messieurs N. F. Belleau and Henry Smith* with that dignity. On 
the 25th he discharged the task which had formed the pretext for his 
visit, by laying the corner stone of the Victoria Bridge at Montreal.f 
A week afterwards he laid the foundation stone of the projected 
Parliament Houses at Ottawa, whence he proceeded through the 
western part of the Province, visiting all the principal cities and 
towns along the route. His journey from first to last was an unin- 
terrupted series of ovations. Great taste was displayed and much 

* Speakers respectively of the two Houses of Parliament. 

+ It may be worth noting that the Reception Committee at Montreal was presided 
over by the Hon. John Young, who nearly nineteen years before had endeavoured to give 
a practical and philanthropical direction to the local celebration in honour of the Prince 
of Wales's birth. See ante, Vol. I., p. 216. The facts were communicated to H.U.H., 
who gracefully referred to Mr. Young's conduct on the occasion. 

Tlie Eve of Coiij' /cration. 403 

money spent in decorating and illuminating the streets, and Western 
Canada has probably never presented so charming an aspect as dur- 
ing those few weeks of the royal progress through our territory. At 
three points only did anything occur to mar the harmony of the 
receptions. The unwise display of party emblems by the Orange 
Societies of Kingston and Belleville prevented the royal visitors from 
landing from the steamer at either of those places. In Toronto a 
similar exhibition of Orange devices upon one of the triumphal 
arches erected on the corner of Church and King Streets prevented 
the royal procession from passing under it, the Duke of Newcastle 
firmly refusing to lend any countenance to party displays. The 
Governor-General having expressed himself strongly in favour of 
his Grace's determination, both he and the Colonial Secretary were 
burned in effigy on Colborne Street by a few hot-headed persons 
whose zeal, for the nonce, outran their discretion. In every other 
particular the visit to Toronto was a splendid success, and during 
the rest of the western tour all went merrily as the proverbial mar- 
riage bell 

Before the Prince's departure from England, President Buchanan 
had written to Her Majesty offering a cordial welcome to her son 
and heir in the event of the latter extending his visit to the United 
States. Her Majesty had replied accepting the invitation, and 
accordingly, when His Royal Highness had completed his tour 
through the western peninsula of Canada, he passed over to the 
States at Detroit. Thence he proceeded through the principal 
cities of the Union, and visited the President at Washington early 
in October. In the republic, as in Canada, he was treated as an 
honoured guest The Duke of Newcastle expressed his belief that 
the Prince's visit to the States had done more to cement the good 
feeling between the two countries than could have been effected by 
a quarter of a century of diplomacy. Subsequent events were soon 
to put this alleged good feeling to the test, and, as will be seen, it 

404 The Last Forty Years. 

proved to be not deeply rooted. The Prince bade adieu to America 
on the 20th of October, when he embarked at Portland for Ply- 
mouth, whither he arrived, after a long and tedious voyage, on the 
15th of November. 

Our land had been blessed with another abundant harvest, and 
the year had also been marked by a steady improvement in trade. 
The Province had by this time surmounted the crisis of 1857. 
Business was brisk, and the general outlook was decidedly encou- 
raging. The question of a Federal Union continued to make itself 
heard from time to time, one of its most eloquent advocates being 
Mr. McGee, who still acted in unison with Mr. Brown. As the year 
drew towards its close the famous Anderson extradition case at- 
tracted a good deal of attention on both sides of the Atlantic, and 
even threatened, for a time, to produce a conflict of authority 
between the courts of law in Canada and those of Great Britain. 
The case arose out of the following circumstances. On the 28th of 
September, 1853, a coloured slave named John Anderson, in escap- 
ing from bondage, in Howard County, Missouri, slew one Seneca 
T. P. Diggs, who sought to capture him with the intention of 
delivering him over to his master. The slave made good his escape, 
and in course of time reached Canada, where, on the 30th of April, 
1860 between six and seven years after the event he was recog- 
nized by a slave-catcher who had tracked him hither. He was 
straightway arrested for the alleged murder, with a view to his 
extradition under the Ashburton Treaty. His cause was at once 
taken up by the public and the press of Canada. Meetings were 
held in various parts of the Province, and funds were liberally sub- 
scribed to test the legality of his proposed extradition. The excite- 
ment soon spread to the United States, and even to Great Britain. 
In the following Michaelmas Term the prisoner was brought up on a 
writ of habeas corpus before the Court of Queen's Bench, at Toronto, 
where the case was argued with consummate ability on both sides. 

Tlie Eve of Confederation. 405 

Sir John Beverley Robinson, Chief Justice of the Court, decided 
that the prisoner must be surrendered. Mr. Justice McLean, one of 
the puisne judges, dissented from this view. He held that the 
prisoner was entitled to his discharge, upon the ground that slavery 
is not recognized by the law of Canada; that a slave who has 
escaped from bondage is entitled to defend himself, even to the 
death, against recapture ; and that the case under consideration did 
not come within the provisions of the treaty. As the other puismS 
judge, Mr. Justice Burns, concurred with his chief, the judgment of 
the Court was pronounced accordingly. The public voice was loudly 
raised against this decision, which was currently supposed to be a 
quasi-recognition of slavery. It seemed monstrous that a Canadian 
court of justice should pronounce a practical condemnation upon a 
man for merely opposing to the death an attempt to rob him of that 
liberty which is the common birthright of humanity. As matter 
of fact, the decision of the Court of Queen's Bench implied no such 
condemnation, and had no reference to the rights or wrongs of 
slavery, but was the result of a careful consideration of the terms 
of the treaty and the law applicable to the case. The friends of 
true liberty on both sides of the Atlantic, however, determined 
that the fugitive should not be delivered over to the lash of 
the slave-driver, and to probable death, until every available 
means of saving him from such a fate had been exhausted. 
Application for a writ of habeas cotfus was made to the Court of 
Queen's Bench at Westminster. After some hesitation the writ was 
granted, but before it could be executed a similar process had issued 
from the Court of Common Pleas in Canada. That Court did not find 
it necessary to enter into the merits of the question, but discharged 
the prisoner upon a technicality. The leading journals of England 
and Canada devoted much space to discussing the question of juris- 
diction of the courts at Westminster and Toronto respectively, and 
there was a manifest disposition on the part of the conductors of 

406 The Last Forty Years. 

the legal periodicals in this Province to tolerate no dictation from the 
English tribunal. A succession of articles also appeared in some of 
the secular journals to a similar purport ; but the discharge of the 
prisoner rendered unnecessary the further continuance of the dis- 

During the autumn of 1860 several changes of more or less im- 
portance occurred in the composition of the two branches of the 
Legislature, by reason of the biennial election of Legislative Coun- 
cillors which then took place. Mr. Merritt, who had represented the 
constituency in which he resided ever since the Union, resigned his 
seat in order to admit of his being elected to the Upper House for 
the Niagara Division. He was returned by acclamation, and he 
continued to sit in the Legislative Council for that Division until 
his death, in July, 1862. His successor in the representation of 
Lincoln in the Assembly was Mr. John Charles Rykert. Mr. A. J. 
Fergusson-Blair,f who had respectively represented Waterloo and 
South Wellington in the Assembly, but who for several years past 
had remained out of public life, was elected to the Upper House for 
the Brock Division. Malcolm Cameron was returned for the St. 
Glair Division, and was succeeded as Lambton's representative in 
the Lower House by Mr. Hope F. Mackenzie. Mr, Letellier,J a former 
representative of Kamouraska in the Assembly, was returned for the 
Grandville Division. Another change, not due to the biennial elec- 
tion, may here be noted. Colonel Prince, by accepting an appointment 
as Judge of the District of Algoma, had vacated his seat in the Legis- 
lative Council, where he had represented the Western Division ever 
since 1856. The vacancy was filled by the election of Sir Allan 
MacNab. The knight had been created a baronet soon after his 
retirement from the Ministry in 1856, and during the following 
year he had withdrawn from the representation of Hamilton in 
the Assembly. He had not since taken any part in public life, but 

Sea pott, p. 408, and note (+). t Ante, pp. 133, 134. * Ante, p. 254. 

The Eve of Confederation. 407 

had spent a considerable part of the interval in England, where 
he had intended to pass the remainder of his days, and where he 
had been an unsuccessful candidate for a seat in the House of 
Commons. He had returned to Canada in the spring of 1860, and 
upon Colonel Prince's acceptance of the judgeship, Sir Allan was 
prevailed upon to become a candidate for the seat thus rendered 
vacant. Before the election he received the honorary rank of a 
Colonel in the British army, and was appointed an honorary aide- 
de-camp to the Queen.* When the election came off in Novem- 
ber he was returned at the head of the poll, and he in due course 
took his seat in the Upper House, where we shall erelong meet him 
once more. 

On the 12th of October the Governor-General, having made 
arrangements to pay a second visit to England, temporarily commit- 
ted the administration of affairs to the hands of Lieutenant-General 
Sir William Fen wick Williams, the gallant hero of Kars, who had 
succeeded to the post of Commander of the Forces. His Excellency 
was absent from the Province somewhat more than three months, 
and did not resume charge of the Government until the 22nd of 
February following. Commerce continued to thrive throughout the 
Province, and at the setting-in of the year 18G1 the land was in a 
full tide of prosperity. Meanwhile the dark cloud which had long 
been hovering over the United States began to give out unmis- 
takable symptoms of having nearly reached the bursting point, and 
ere the Canadian Parliament met to hold its next annual session the 
republic was already on the brink of the most terrible rebellion the 
world has ever seen. The conflict was destined to produce import- 
ant results in Canada, but at this early date results were very dimly 
foreseen, and though we all felt an interest in the impending struggle, 

Similar dignities were at the same time conferred upon Sir Etienne Paocid Tachtf 
heretofore known to us ai Colonel Tache 1 and in the capacity of aides-de-camp both 
gentlemen attended the Prince of Walei during hi progrew through the country in the 
lummcr and autumn. 

408 Tlie Lasi Forty Years. 

we failed to realize its full significance, and had little idea that it 
would be prolonged beyond the ninety days which were currently 
assigned as its utmost duration. Our people entertained wide differ- 
ences of opinion as to the merits of the struggle, but there was 
an unquestionable preponderance of what was termed " Southern 
sympathy," accompanied by a corresponding sentiment of hostility 
towards the cause of the North. As will presently be seen, only a 
few months were to elapse ere an unlooked-for complication was to 
intensify this latter sentiment to an uncommon degree. 

The Sixth Parliament assembled at Quebec for its fourth and 
last session on the 16th of March, 1861. Reference was made in the 
opening Speech to the abundant harvest of the preceding year, to an 
acknowledgment by Her Majesty of the loyalty which had been 
displayed towards the Prince during his visit, and to the promulga- 
tion of the Consolidated Statutes of Upper and Lower Canada.* 
Attention was also directed to the service in Canada of a writ 
issued by the Court of Queen's Bench in England.f and his Excel- 
lency announced that he had been advised to represent to the 
Home Government the expediency of preventing, by legislation in 
Great Britain, any possible conflict of jurisdiction.! Long and acri- 
monious debates arose in the Assembly on the Address in Reply, and 
various amendments embodying practical censure upon the Ministry 

* Commissioners for the consolidation of the statutes of the two sections of the Province, 
as well as those of the Province at large, had been appointed in 1856. Those appointed 
to deal with the statutes of Upper Canada and Canada respectively completed the con- 
solidations in 1859, when their labours received legislative sanction. The Commissioners 
for the Lower Canada statutes did not conclude their task until January, 1801, when 
Let Statute Sefondui du Bos-Canada were brought into force by virtue of an enabling Act 
of the preceding session. 

t In the Anderson case. 

t The suggestion was acted upon in 1862, when the Imperial Parliament passed an Act 
(25 Vic., c. 20) providing that no writ of habeas corpus shall issue out of any court in 
England to any colony or foreign dominion of the Crown in which any courts exist having 
power to issue and ensure the due execution of such writs. 

The Eve of Confederation. 409 

were proposed. Mr. Thomas R. Ferguson, member for South Simcoe, 
moved an amendment expressing regret that, owing to the unwise 
counsel tendered to the Prince of Wales, the feelings of large classes 
of Her Majesty's subjects had been insulted, their rights ignored, and 
much political and religious excitement engendered, "detrimental 
alike to the peace of the country and that full and unreserved equal- 
ity of the rights and privileges which all classes of the people should 
constitutionally enjoy." Mr. Macdougall moved an amendment on the 
same subject, but still more directly expressive of censure upon the 
Government. The persons who were said to have been insulted 
were the Orangemen, who had not been allowed to pay their respects 
to the Prince in their own way ; and the persons whose rights were 
said to have been ignored were the Freemasons, who had been 
invited to lay the corner stone of the Parliamentary Buildings at 
Ottawa with masonic honours, but had not been permitted to do so. 
The supporters of these amendments were confined to a few mem- 
bers of the Upper Canadian Opposition, though several Lower 
Canadians, in the course of their remarks in the House, expressed 
opinions to the effect that the Ministry were responsible for the 
ill-feeling that had been produced in the country. The Govern- 
ment, however, repudiated all responsibility for the acts of the Duke 
of Newcastle, who had had charge of the Prince of VVales's expedi- 
tion. " Our duty," they said, in effect, " is to advise the Governor- 
General on the affairs of the Province, and we do not profess to 
interfere in matters of Imperial diplomacy. The Prince, during his 
stay in Canada, was the Queen's representative. He was sent over 
here accompanied by an Imperial adviser, by whom he was guided, 
and who alone is answerable for what was done." The votes on 
the two amendments stood 85 to 14- and 71 to 29 respectively in 
favour of the Ministry. Another amendment moved by Mr. Fergu- 
BOII assertive of the Representation by Population principle obtained 
38 supporters out of a House of 110. Still other amendments by 


410 The Last Forty Yearn. 

Messieurs J. S. Macdonald and A. A. Dorion, assertive of the double 
majority principle,* divided the House much less disproportionately, 
the respective votes standing 62 to 49 and 65 to 46. The majorities 
of 13 and 19 declared by these votes might therefore be taken as 
indications of the actual strength of the Government ; but it was an 
ominous circumstance that among the minority were to be found 
the names of Messieurs Sicotte and Loranger, two of the ablest 
public men in Lower Canada, both of whom had formerly been firm 
supporters of Mr. Cartier. Their secession, which was chiefly attri- 
butable to their disinclination to accept the official determination to 
accept the Imperial mandate making Ottawa the permanent Seat of 
Government, was a blow to the Ministry, as each of the seceders 
had a certain following in the House. About this time a tendency 
to united action began to manifest itself between them and the 
moderate Reformers of Upper Canada. The chief representative of 
the latter was J. S. Macdonald, between whom and Mr. Brown there 
had been steadily-widening differences ever since the formation of 
the two days' Ministry in 1858. Mr. Brown's star had not been in 
the ascendant since the defeat of his joint authority resolutions 
during the session of 1860. There had been defections from his 
ranks in Upper Canada, and in Lower Canada he cannot be said to 
have had any following whatever. Messieurs Sicotte and Loranger, 
willing as they were to ally themselves with J. S. Macdonald, knew 
perfectly well that their constituents and fellow-countrymen would 

The seeming contradiction between this statement and that on p. 369 requires a word 
of explanation. It is there stated that : " From that time forward (i.e., in 1858) the ques- 
tion of a double or sectional majority cannot be said to have ever presented itself before 
the Canadian Parliament as a matter for practical consideration. " The anomaly here is 
to be explained by the simple statement that Messieurs Macdonald and Dorion did not 
introduce the double majority question in 1861 with any idea of carrying it, but merely 
for the purpose of testing the ministerial strength. So that as matter of fact the question 
did not rcjilly come before Parliament "as a matter for practical consideration." The 
subsequent adoption of the principle by the Macdonald-Sicotte Government in 18fi2 was 
merely nominal, as when the time came for acting upon it it was thrown overboard, and 
that without any serious attempt at explanation. See post, p. 429. 

TJte Eve of Confederation. 411 

not tolerate an alliance between them and Mr. Brown. Even the 
great ability and popularity of Mr. Dorion could not stand the 
pressure brought to bear upon his alliance with the Chief of the 
Clear Grits. He was erelong superseded in the leadership of the 
Lower Canadian Opposition by Mr. Sicotte, who contrived to get 
together a strong support in the Assembly, including Messieurs Drum- 
mond, Loranger and Lemieux. The alliance between Mr. Sicotte 
and Mr. J. 8. Macdonald soon became a fait accompli, and their 
united strength rendered necessary the utmost vigilance and finesse 
on the part of the Ministry. The latter, however, though frequently 
embarrassed, got through the session, a great portion of which was 
taken up by discussions concerning the representation. A census 
had been taken a few weeks before the opening, and after the 
Blaster recess a synopsis of the returns was laid before the Assembly. 
It showed that whereas in 1341 the population of Lower Canada 
had been more than 200,000 in excess of that of the upper sectioa 
of the Province, the latter now contained nearly 300,000 more people 
than the former. The logic of these figures was inexorable, and 
gave additional vigour to the agitation for representation according 
to population. Hence the numerous discussions on that subject. 
The most important of them ensued upon a Bill introduced by the 
member for South Simcoe, already mentioned, which contemplated 
a sort of modified representation by population. Every coaspicuous 
member of the House took part in the debate, and Mr. John A. 
Macdonald made a most eloquent and telling speech against the 
proposed measure. Mr. Cartier took an uncompromising stand, 
declaring that under the Union Act Upper Canada had no right to a 
larger representation than Lower Canada, and that he would never 
consent to sacrifice the claims of the latter by so much as a hair's- 
breadth. In so arguing the Premier proved himself to be devoid of 
political prescience. The next few years taught him much, but he 
learned nothing on this important question until knowledge was 

412 The Last Forty Tears. 

imperatively forced upon him.* The measure was defeated by a 
vote of 67 to 49, a considerable number of Upper Canadian mem- 
bers voting against it. Various motions of want of confidence in 
the Administration were introduced by the Opposition, not with 
any distinct idea that they could be successful, but merely for the 
purpose of embarrassing the Ministry, and of producing an effect 
upon the country at large with a view to the general elections which 
were to be held in the course of the year. An effective point was 
made against the Government for having made advances to the Grand 
Trunk Railway without legislative authority. Considerable stress 
was also laid upon the fact that Mr. Morrison, who had held the office 
of Solicitor-General West ever since his appointment in February, 
1860, had not succeeded in obtaining a seat in either House of Parlia- 
ment, but had on the contrary been defeated as a candidate for the 
county of Grey. After his defeat he had tendered his resignation, but 
his colleagues had refused to accept it, and had pressed him to remain 
in the Government. A motion was introduced by Mr. Notman during 
the session to the effect that Mr. Morrison's retention of office under 
the circumstances above detailed was subversive of the first prin- 
ciples of Responsible Government, and a most dangerous violation 
of the spirit of the constitution. This motion was defeated in its 
turn, the vote standing 61 to 50. Mr. Morrison's conduct was thus 
sustained by the House, but the discussion on the subject tended to 
the further weakening of the Ministry, who found themselves much 
less confident at the close of the session than at the beginning." 

The sessional legislation was unimportant from an historical point 
of view. The prorogation took place on the 18th of May. On the 
10th of June a proclamation by the Governor-General put an end 
to the Sixth Parliament. On the 12th, Mr. Rose resigned the post 

"It must be admitted that on this particular question M. Cartier shows to great 
disadvantage. The lawyer and the sectionalist are seen everywhere; the statesman and 
the Canadian nowhere." Canadian Portrait Gallery, Vol. I., p. 83. 


The Eve of Confederation, 413 

of Solicitor-General East, together with his seat in the Cabinet He 
was succeeded by Mr. Cauchon, who had rendered a qualified support 
to the Administration ever since the Double Shuffle, and whose sup- 
port had grown stronger with time. Mr. Rose's resignation was not 
attributable to any difference with his colleagues. It was due partly 
to his want of the practical knowledge necessary for adequately dis- 
charging the duties of his Department, and partly to his impaired 
health, begotten of the labours incidental to his public duties and 
a large professional business. He retained his seat in Parliament, 
and continued to support the Ministry so long as they remained in 

The general elections came off during the summer, and though 
the campaign was conducted with vigour, it was attended by much 
less disorder than had marked previous contests. The ministerial 
programme simply embodied a continuation of the existing policy. 
The chief planks in the Opposition platform were retrenchment and 
Representation by Population, in addition to a general condem- 
nation of the Government. The most was made of the unauthorized 
advances to the Grand Trunk Railway already referred to, and the 
presence in the Cabinet of the Hon. John Ross, who was President 
of the Company, was denounced without stint ; as was also that of 
Mr. Morrison, who had held office so long without a seat in Parlia- 
ment. The result of the contest as a whole was that the ministerial 
ascendency was maintained. Each side gained some unexpected 
advantages, and each also sustained some serious losses. Many 
prominent members failed to secure reelection. In Upper Canada the 
Opposition sustained a serious loss by the defeat of Mr. Brown in East 
Toronto, where he was successfully opposed by Mr. John Crawford, 
a supporter of the Government. Messieurs A. A. Dorion, Lemieux 
and Thibandeau, Mr. Brown's somewhile colleagues, also sustained 
ilH'i'jit. in their respective constituencies in Lower Canada. The most 
significant ministerial defeats were those of the Postmaster-General 

414 Tlie Last Forty Tears. 

(Sidney Smith) and Ogle R. Gowan in Upper Canada, and of Solicitor- 
General Morin and Messieurs Dunkin and Campbell' in Lower 
Canada. Mr. Brown, who was in ill-health, did not seek another 
constituency at that time, and did not reenter public life until 1863. 
Mr. A. A. Dorion remained out of Parliament for a year, when 
he was returned for Hochelaga. Mr. Lemieux was elected to the 
Upper House for the De la Durantaye Division at the biennial 
election of 1862. Mr. Thibaudeau's defeat was final, and we shall 
not meet him again. The Postmaster-General's defeat was remedied 
by his election to the Legislative Council for the Trent Division, and 
he was thus enabled to retain his portfolio without any violation of 
the Parliamentary proprieties. Solicitor-General Morin, after being 
defeated in Terrebonne, was returned for Laval, the sitting member 
for that constituency having been appointed to a public office. Mr. 
Dunkin also obtained a constituency in the following spring, when 
he was returned for Brome. Major Campbell did not reenter the 
Parliamentary arena. 

The most conspicuous new members were Alexander Mackenzie, 
Henri Gustave Joly, Henri Elzear Taschereau and Joseph Goderic 
Blanchet. Mr. Mackenzie, who was returned for Lambton, then 
began that busy and useful Parliamentary career with the course of 
which every Canadian of the present day is familiar. He is a native 
of Perthshire, Scotland, where he in his youth learned and practised 
the trade of a stonemason. In 1842, being then twenty years of age, 
he emigrated to Canada and settled at Kingston, whence, in 1847, he 
removed to the neighbourhood of Sarnia. He carried on his trade, 
and also successfully engaged in business as a builder and contractor. 
He attained a high reputation throughout the neighbourhood in 
which he resided as a self-made man of exceptional industry and 
ability, and of unquestionable honesty of purpose. Being a very 
pronounced Reformer, and a strong supporter of Mr. Brown, he for 
some time edited and conducted a newspaper published at Sarnia in 


The Eve of Confederation, 415 

the interests of his party. In 1860 his brother, Mr. Hope F. Mac- 
kni/ie, was returned to the Assembly for Lambton, but declined 
reelection in 1861, as business matters demanded his attention. 
Alexander accordingly succeeded him in the representation. He 
was from the first a ready and effective debater, and possessed a 
wonderful faculty for dealing with minute and complicated details. 
It may safely be said of him that his character, no less than his 
abilities, won the respect of the country during his first Parliamen- 
tary session, and that, though he has been a strong partisan, and has 
made no secret of his opinions, he has retained that respect down to 
the present day. 

Mr. Joly is of French Canadian parentage, but was born in 
France, and received his early education there. He removed to 
Canada in his youth, and in course of time studied law and was 
called to the bar. Having resolved to enter public life, he in 1861 
successfully contested the representation of Lotbiniere, which he 
thenceforward represented for many years. He is a pronounced 
Liberal, and from the outset of his public career has devoted himself, 
both in and out of Parliament, to the advancement of Liberal 
principles. Mr. Tasohereau, who now occupies an honoured position 
on the bench, is a member of an old and well-known French Canadian 
family. He was then a successful member of the Lower Canadian 
bar, to which he had been called in 1857. Having been returned 
to the Assembly for his native county, he ranged himself on the 
side of the Ministry. Dr. Blanchet was at that time a popular and 
successful physician resident at the town of LeVis, for which con- 
stituency he was returned to the Assembly in the ministerial interest. 
He has ever since sat in the Legislature sometimes in that of 
Canada, sometimes in that of his native Province, sometimes in both; 
and at the present day he sits in the Commons for the constituency 
by which he was first returned to Parliament. 

The death of William Lyon Mackenzie, which occurred during 

416 The Last Forty Years. 

the summer, is an event not unworthy of being recorded here. 
The close of his life, like the beginning of it, was passed amid 
poverty and gloom. He resigned his seat for Haldimand at the 
end of the session of 1858, and did not again take any part in 
public affairs, except by discussing them in his Weekly Message, 
which he continued to publish at irregular intervals down to the 
spring of 1860. In that quaint periodical he animadverted upon 
men and things in the voluble, impassioned style which was so 
peculiarly his own ; but the enterprise was not a pecuniary success, 
and yielded an income altogether insufficient for the necessities of 
his family. A short time prior to the resignation of his seat in Par- 
liament the Upper Canadian Reformers set on foot a subscription, 
with the ostensible object of presenting him with a testimonial, but 
really for the purpose of aiding him in his hard struggle with 
poverty. A considerable sum was realized, part of which was 
invested in a house on Bond Street, Toronto, where he resided at the 
time of his death. The rest was loaned to him by the subscription 
committee. While this fund lasted it doubtless did something to 
smooth his pathway, and to avert the despair which was slowly but 
surely fastening its grasp upon him. For some time before his death 
there was an evident failure of his physical and mental powers. With 
shattered health and blighted hopes, with a family dependent upon 
him for support, and without any means of suitably providing for 
them, he lost heart, and longed for the rest of the grave. During 
his last illness he refused medical treatment, declining to make any 
effort to longer preserve a life which had lost all charms for him. 
He breathed his last on the 28th of August, at the age of sixty-six 
years. His career is one which can by no means be held up to 
unqualified admiration, but he was, according to his lights, a sincere 
patriot, and one who wished well to his fellow-creatures. His energy, 
though frequently misdirected, was such as, under different conditions, 
must have ensured success. His ambition, though unstable and erratic 

Eve of Confederation. 417 

was upon the whole honourable and public-spirited. His great defect 
was his inability to reason, and his tendency to be driven hither and 
thither by his impulses. The problem of human existence was to him, 
even more than to most men, a curiously involved and insoluble affair, 
and he spent most of his days and many of his nights in vain 
attempts to solve it from the wrong end. His life, no less than his 
death, was sad and sorrowful, but Canada may well afford to drop 
a tear over the grave of the man who, rash and wrong-headed as he 
was, never ceased to be zealous for Canadian liberty and popular 

On the 24th of October Sir Edmund Head's administration of 
Canadian affairs came to an end, and he sailed for England 
immediately afterwards.* He had not during his stay among us 
developed any extraordinary qualities of statesmanship, nor did he, 
like his predecessor, leave a host of warmly-attached friends behind 
him ; but, except among the more virulent members of the Opposi- 
tion, there was a general feeling that he had tried to do his duty, 
and that in all essential points he had succeeded. He was not a 
man of much personal magnetism, and did not seem to court devoted 
friendships ; but he was careful, painstaking and conscientious, and 
rarely affixed his signature to a public document until he had read 
and comprehended the contents. He was fond of superintending 
minute details, and would have made an excellent head of a 
department. Notwithstanding his learning and his knowledge of 
politics, it may be said that he found his intellectual level as a 
Poor Law Commissioner, in which capacity he proved himself to be 
a useful and clear-headed man. Some idea of the texture of his 
mind may be formed from the fact that he wrote an entire book (a 

" I leave my character behind me," says Sir Peter Teazle. Had Sir Edmund echoed 
the Mntiment he would hare been fully borne out by the sinister blessing which The Glubt 
sent attar him on the 26th of October. Witness the following extract : "Sir Edmund 
Head departs, leaving a worse character behind him than any of his predecessors, not 
excepting even his worthy cousin, the other baronet." 

418 The Last Forty Years. 

small one it is true ; but still, one that must have required considerable 
labour) on the proper use of the two little words shall and wi/l.* 
Soon after his return to England he was an unsuccessful candidate 
for the representation of the borough of Pontefract in the House of 
Commons. He derived some solace for his disappointment by being 
gazetted to a Civil Service Commissionership. He was also elected 
Governor of the Hudson's Bay Company, a position which he 
retained until his death on the 28th of January, 1868, when, as 
he left no male issue, the baronetcy became extinct.f 

His successor as Governor- General of Canada was Charles Stanley, 
Fourth Viscount Monck, a native of Templemore, in the county of 
Tipperary, Ireland, where he was born in 1819. He was descended 
from the old Norman family of Le Moyne, and was the son of an 
Irish viscount, to whom he succeeded in 1849. He had been called 
to the Irish bar, and had sat for some years in the House of 
Commons for the English constituency of Portsmouth. Upon the 
formation of Lord Palmerston's Ministry in February, 1855, he was 
appointed a Lord of the Treasury, and he retained that position 
until the general elections of 1857, when he failed to secure a seat 
in Parliament. He had manifested some aptitude for official life, 
but did not again hold any public position until his appointment as 
Governor-General of Canada in 1861. He arrived at Quebec in the 
steamship North Briton on the 23rd of October, and assumed charge 
of the Administration two days afterwards. 

Scarcely had Lord Monck succeeded to the direction of affairs ere 
an event occurred which for a time threatened to involve serious 
consequences, and which proved that the Duke of Newcastle's 
sanguine anticipations with reference to the Prince of Wales's visit 
to the United States had not been well grounded. The forcible 

" Shll and Will ; or, Two Chapters on Future Auxiliary Verbs." London, 1856. 

tHis only son, John, lost his life in Canada on the 25th of September, 1859, when he 
wai drowned while bathing in the St. Maurice River, near the Falls of Shawane^an. 

Tlte Eve of Confederation. 419 

taking of the Confederate envoys, Messieurs Mason and Slidell, from 
the British mail steamer Trent, in mid-ocean, by Captain Wilkes, of 
the United States sloop of war San Jacinto, occurred on the 8th 
of November. No need to tell in detail a story which every 
Canadian knows by heart. The conduct of the American Govern- 
ment and the language of the American press were unsuited to the 
gravity of the occasion, and war seemed inevitable. Our Canadian 
volunteers sprang to arms. Steps were taken to organize the 
militia. New companies were formed, and every Canadian youth 
old enough to bear arms exhibited an enthusiasm for drill. From 
that time to the end of the American conflict the cause of the 
North found few adherents in our midst. The all-but-universal 
hope was that Jefferson Davis and his coadjutors would be successful 
in establishing a Southern Confedenicy upon a firm and solid basis. 
Southern refugees found a warm welcome among us, and in some 
instances were fe'ted as though they had been the representatives of a 
noble and righteous cause. Many of our public men renewed the 
agitation as to the necessity for an intercolonial railway from Quebec 
to Halifax, whereby we might have a route to the seaboard through 
British territory. Our military enthusiasm was intensified by the 
presence among us of regular troops which arrived from England in 
considerable numbers. Had an appeal to the Qod of battles been 
necessary, Canada would doubtless have approved her loyalty in the 
field. Happily no such attestation was required at her hands. The 
American Government albeit with a very bad grace receded from 
the untenable attitude which they had assumed, and on the first day 
of the new year the captured envoys were surrendered to Great 
Britain. And so the threatened danger passed by. 

The death of the Prince Consort on the 14th of December evoked 
much sympathy in Canada for Her Majesty's bereavement, and 
warmly-expressed addresses of condolence were forwarded to her 
across the sea. There were no local events of importance during the 

420 The Last Forty Years. 

early months of 1862. Parliament had been summoned for the 20th of 
March. Just before that date Messieurs Vankoughnet and Morrison 
accepted seats on the bench, and thereby vacated their places in the 
Cabinet, the membership whereof was accordingly incomplete at the 
opening of the session. Mr. Vankoughnet became Chancellor of 
Upper Canada, and Mr. Morrison became a puisne" judge of the 
Court of Common Pleas for the same section of the Province. 

The opening was attended by unusual pomp and display, it being 
the beginning, not only of the first session of a new Parliament, but 
of the first session held under Lord Monck's regime. In the Assembly, 
Joseph Edouard Turcotte, member for Three Rivers, the ministerial 
candidate for the Speakership, was elected to that office by a majority 
of thirteen over Mr. Sicotte, the Opposition candidate. The Speaker- 
elect had sat in the Assembly for many years, and his experience, as 
well as his talents, fitted him for the honourable office imposed on him. 
The Legislative Council for the first time exercised the privilege con- 
ferred upon them by the Act of I860,* and elected Sir Allan MacNab 
to the office of Speaker of their House, thereby superseding Sir N. F. 
Belleau. The latter, however, retained his seat in the Government, 
and accepted the office of Minister of Agriculture, which thencefor- 
ward became a separate department, and was no longer held ex 
officio by the President of the Executive Council, f 

The Speech from the Throne bore testimony to Her Majesty's 
recognition of the loyalty of the Canadian people, as exhibited 
during the Trent imbroglio. A free exchange of commodities 
between Canada and the Maritime Provinces was recommended, aa 
was also a reorganization of the Canadian' militia. The discussion 
of the Address in Reply was delayed in consequence of the recent 
ministerial resignations, and of further modifications which took 
place after the opening. On the 26th, when the session was less 
than a week old, Mr. Ross resigned the Presidency of the Council, 

Ante, p. 47. tXnfc, p. 266. 

The Eve of Confederation. 421 

and retired from the Government Mr. Sherwood resigned the 
Receiver-Generalship and became Commissioner of Crown Lands. 
The vacancies were filled on the 27th by the appointment of John 
Beverley Robinson as President of the Council. John Carling as 
Receiver-General, and the Hon. James Patton as Solicitor-General 
West. As these gentlemen favoured representation by population, 
it was at first supposed that their admission to office would produce 
some modification of the ministerial policy, but as matter of fact 
the only modification which supervened was that " Rep. by Pop.," 
as it was called, was left an open question in the Cabinet, whereas 
it had previously been closed to consideration there, in consequence 
of the opposition to it of the Lower Canadian members. Messieurs 
Robinson and Carling were reelected in their respective constituen- 
cies of Toronto West and London, but Mr. Patton, who sat in the 
Legislative Council for the Saugeen Division, upon returning to his 
constituents for reelection as he was bound to do under the Act of 
1856* was defeated by John McMurrich, of Toronto, an anti-min- 
isterialist Mr. Patton, however, retained his portfolio. 

The Address was adopted in the Upper House without division. 
The debate upon it in the Assembly was of wearisome length, 
and was not terminated until the 5th of April, when Ministers were 
sustained on a motion which was practically one of want of confi- 
dence, by a vote of Go to 48 involving a majority of 17. The 
interval was almost entirely occupied in discussing amendments on 
the subject of representation by population, the most vigorous 
advocate of that measure being Mr. William McDougall. With the 
exception of an Act organizing the Bureau of Agriculture as a 
separate public department, under the direction and management 
of the Minister of Agriculture, the legislation of the session 
was unimportant. The influence of the Government perceptibly 
declined as the weeks went by. They suffered considerable loss of 

Ai,tf, p. 347. 

422 The Last Forty Years. 

prestige in consequence of a debate on the subject of the new 
Parliament Buildings at Ottawa, for the erection whereof 900,000 
had been appropriated. It now appeared that the entire appropria- 
tion had been consumed, in addition to considerable sums which had 
been expended without the authority of the Legislature; and yet 
the structures were not half completed. Mr. Rose, who had had 
charge of the Public Works Department when the contracts had been 
let, now came in for some strong criticism, and it was alleged that his 
want of practical knowledge had cost the country immense sums. 
Other abuses came to light in some of the departments, and it was 
evident that the Ministry had been in power so long as to have 
become somewhat careless of the public interests. The prevalent 
feeling of the Assembly was such that before the session had lasted 
two months the Government held office by a very frail tenure, and a 
suitable opportunity was all that was needed to ensure their defeat. 
The opportunity was afforded by a Bill for the reorganization of the 
militia, introduced by Attorney-General Macdonald. It was a strong 
measure, and, if carried, would unquestionably have rendered the 
Province strong to resist attack; but it would have required an expen- 
diture out of all proportion to the revenue, and its introduction 
caused no little alarm, more especially among the Lower Canadian 
members. When it came up for its second reading on the 20th of 
May it was rejected by a vote of 61 to 54. On this question Mr. 
Macdonald had a clear Upper Canadian majority of seven ; and the 
defeat of the Bill was owing to the defection of a number of Mr. 
Cartier's supporters. On the following day the Government 

Somewhat to the public surprise, the Governor had recourse, in 
this emergency, to Mr. J. S. Macdonald. That gentleman's course 
had been so independent of the considerations by which most party- 
men were swayed in those days that his personal following iu the 
Assembly was not large, and his ability to form a Ministry was not 

The Eve of Confederation, 423 

commonly believed in. As public opinion then stood, however, no 
member of the Opposition could boast of an overmastering Parlia- 
mentary influence, and it would not have been easy to say who, if 
not Mr. Macdonald, could command the strongest vote. Mr Mac- 
donald proved that he was at all events strong enough to form a 
Government. With the assistance of Mr. Sicotte he soon accom- 
plished his task, and the Macdonald-Sicotte Government was sworn 
in on the 24th. Its composition was as follows : 


The Hon. J. S. Macdonald, Premier, and Attorney- General West 

" M. H. Foley, Postmaster-General. 

" W. P. Howland, Minister of Finance. 
" " W. McDougall, Commissioner of Crown Lands. 
" " James Morris, Receiver-General. 
" " Adam Wilson, Solicitor-General West 


The Hon. L. V. Sicotte, Attorney-General East 

" A. A. Dorion, Provincial Secretary. 

" T. D. McGee, President of the Council. 
" " U. J. Tassier, Commissioner of Public Works. 

" Fransois Evanturel, Minister of Agriculture. 
" " J. J. C. Abbott, Solicitor-General East. 

The only members of the Government with whom the reader is 
unacquainted were Adam Wilson, Fra^ois Evanturel, and John 
Joseph Caldwell Abbott. Mr. Wilson was a distinguished Toronto 
lawye'r, whose political opinions had been formed in the school of 
Robert Baldwin, and who sat in the Assembly for North York. 
Mr. Evauturel, a Lower Canadian advocate and a large landed 
proprietor, sat for Quebec County. Mr. Abbott was a prominent 

424 The Last Forty fears. 

and rising member of the Montreal bar, and he sat in the Assembly 
for his native county of Argenteuil. Both the Solicitors-General 
had seats in the Cabinet. All the Ministers received the endorse- 
ment of their respective constituents, except Mr. Morris, who, having 
been appointed a member of the Legislative Council under the old 
system, did not need to appeal to electoral suffrage. 

On the 26th, Mr. Wallbridge upon whom, nearly four years prior 
to this date, had devolved the task of announcing the resignation of 
the Brown-Dorion Administration unfolded the ministerial pro- 
gramme to the Assembly. It embodied a recognition of the double 
majority principle with respect to purely local questions, and 
announced a determination to submit a measure for the more equit- 
able adjustment of Parliamentary representation in each section of 
the Province. An amendment of the militia law, a readjustment of 
the tariff, a new insolvent law, a thorough system of retrenchment 
in the public service, a searching investigation into all matters 
connected with the new Parliament Buildings at Ottawa, and the 
maintenance of Her Majesty's decision with reference to the Seat 
of Government, were also promised. This exposition of the Gov- 
ernment's policy was repeated in French by Mr. Loranger; and 
in the Upper House a similar explanation was made by the new 
Receiver-General, Mr. Morris. In the course of the ensuing discus- 
sions it was made manifest that the great question of Representation 
by Population was practically ignored. The proposed "more equitable 
adjustment of the Parliamentary representation " was found to 
involve merely a rearrangement of the constituencies, without inter- 
fering with the equal membership for the two sections of the Prov- 
ince. There was moreover an express understanding that the equal- 
ity of representation should not be disturbed during the existing 
Parliament. This determination was the more surprising inasmuch 
as four members of the new Government Messieurs McDougall, 
Foley, Howland and Wilson had long been among the foremost 

The Eve of Confederation. 425 

advocates of " Rep. by Pop.," and had spoken strongly in its favour 
up to the very eve of entering the Ministry. The Globe opened its 
batteries upon them for their inconsistency, and taxed them with a 
venal desertion of their principles. A good many Upper Canadian 
Reformers took a similar stand, but the Assembly and the country 
at large were in favour of giving the new Ministers a fair trial. 
The leaders of the late Government declared that they would offer 
no factious opposition, either at the polls or elsewhere, but would 
even assist their successors in completing the legislation of the 
session. They acted up to their declarations, and the Macdonald- 
Sicotte Administration thus found themselves strong enough to 
proceed to the development of some features of the policy which had 
been announced on their behalf. They completed the unfinished 
business of the session, which was brought to a close on the 9th of 
June. Among the measures passed after their accession to power 
were a short Militia Bill, making provision for the maintenance of 
a volunteer force, but being much less comprehensive in its pro- 
visions than the defeated measure which had led to the fall of the 
late Government. 

Some of the foremost English journals expressed themselves 
strongly upon the subject of the defeat of the Macdonald-Cartier 
Government's Militia Bill. The prevalent feeling in the mother 
country seemed to be that Canada was disposed to shirk her respon- 
sibilities, and to leave England to provide for her defence against 
foreign aggression. At such a distance from the scene of action, 
and with very inadequate knowledge of public opinion here, 
Englishmen have always been conspicuous for shooting wide of the 
mark where Canadian affairs are concerned. At this juncture they 
would seem to have been farther astray than usual. Mr. Macdon- 
ald's measure had been defeated, partly because its enactment would 
have involved an expenditure greater than the necessities of the case 
demanded: greater certainly than the pecuniary condition of the 


426 The Last Forty Fears. 

Province would have justified: and partly because it had been 
introduced under the auspices of an Administration whereof the 
Canadian people had begun to grow weary. There was no want of 
loyalty among us ; no desire to avoid our responsibilities, pecuniary 
or other. But the tone adopted by the English press which of 
course echoed the opinions of many leading statesmen and scholars 
in the kingdom during the summer of 1862, struck a blow at 
Canadian loyalty from which it has never fully recovered. One 
journal declared that we were a colony of greedy self-seekers, and 
that neither credit nor advantage to the mother country was to 
be derived from any longer continuing the connection with us. 
Another more coarsely remarked that our loyalty was in our 
breeches pockets. At least a score of widely-read journals took 
occasion to gird at us. The Premier himself Lord Palmerston 
asserted from his place in the House of Commons, with a consider- 
able appearance of ill-temper, that Her Majesty's Government had 
done as much for the defence of Canada as they intended to do, and 
that it rested with Canadians themselves either to do the remainder 
or to disgrace the stock whence they had sprung. The Governor- 
General, Lord Monck, in more diplomatic language, expressed similar 
opinions at a public dinner in Montreal. Canadians generally felt 
that they had received a succession of unmerited slaps in the face. 
Assuredly there is loyalty in Canada at the present day, but it is a 
sentiment of radically different stripe from that which animated us 
during the discussions arising out of the Trent affair ; and any one 
who has carefully watched the progress of public opinion among us 
during the last twenty years will admit that a change first began 
to be apparent during the summer of 1862. 

The Government set on foot a rigid system of economy in the 
public service during the summer and autumn. The staff of clerks 
in the various departments was reduced, and the strictest super- 
vision was exercised over every branch of expenditure. As a 

The Eve of Confederation. 427 

necessary result a considerable saving was effected, and the state 
of the public finances was to that extent improved. Among the 
twelve Legislative Councillors returned at the biennial election of 
this year was Mr. Holton, who, with the exception of his brief 
tenure of office in the Brown-Dorion Administration, had taken no 
part in public affairs since the general election of 1857, when he had 
been defeated in Montreal by Solicitor-General Rose. He was now 
returned by acclamation for the Victoria Division, which embraced 
a great portion of the city of Montreal. 

The neighbouring republic continued to be the theatre of war, 
and during the latter months of 18G2 Canada began to be sensible 
of being materially affected thereby. Columbia's necessity was 
Canada's opportunity. The rebellion had of course seriously inter- 
fered with the raising of food and farm-stock in the States, and the 
demand for those commodities had become much greater than the 
domestic supply. Dealers naturally turned to Canada as the 
cheapest and most accessible foreign market, and the Province was 
overrun by Americans who bought up cattle, poultry, eggs, and 
other staple articles of food, in enormous quantities. Horses were 
also in great requisition for cavalry purposes. Prices rose with the 
increased demand, and money flowed into the country in a steady 
stream. Our farmers, who had never before enjoyed such a golden 
opportunity, not even during the Crimean War, took full advan- 
tage of the situation, and throve apace upon the necessities of their 
neighbours. The experience of seven or eight years before had not 
been thrown away upon them, and as a rule they did not repeat the 
senseless extravagance of that period. The Americans did not relish 
the high rates of duty imposed by the Provincial Parliament, and 
had already begun to raise an outcry against the contemplated 
renewal of the Reciprocity Treaty of 1854. Such was the condition 
of affairs at the close of 1862. 

The intercolonial line of railway from Quebec to Halifax con- 

428 The Last Forty Years. 

tinued meanwhile to form the subject of discussion between Canada, 
the Maritime Provinces and the mother country. Mr. Dorion did not 
regard the enterprise with favour, as he considered it to be in advance 
of our necessities and resources. As his colleagues did not concur 
in this view, but kept up negotiations with a view to the con- 
struction of the road, he formally withdrew from the Government 
on the 27th of January, and was succeeded in the Provincial 
Secretaryship* by the Hon. Jacques Olivier Bureau, a member of 
the Rouge party, who sat in the Legislative Council as member for 
the De Lorimier Division. 

Parliament met on the 12th of February. During the preceding 
summer Sir Allan MacNab had succumbed to an attack of gout 
of exceptional severity, and had found relief in the grave from 
the many cares whereby he had long been beset. The extraordi- 
nary circumstances connected with his last illness, death and burial 
are still fresh in the memory of many readers of these pages. His 
death had left vacant the post of Speaker of the Legislative Council, 
and the first duty of the members of that body, after the assembling 
of Parliament, was to elect his successor. They fulfilled that duty 
by electing the Hon. (now Sir) Alexander Campbell, a popular lawyer 
of Kingston, who had been returned to the Upper House for the 
Cataraqui Division at the biennial election of 1858. He was a 
Liberal-Conservative, and had long been a partner in business of 
the Hon. John A. Macdonald. His election to the Speakership was 
unanimous. On the following day the Governor delivered the 
Speech from the Throne. It recommended the enactment of several 
measures of public utility, but contained nothing of historic interest. 
An amendment to the Address in Reply, in favour of representation 
by population, and expressing regret that the Government had not 
resolved to do justice to Upper Canada, was moved in the Assembly 

* The portfolio was first offered to Mr. Loranger, who declined it, and accepted a seat 
on the bench. 


The Eve of Confederation. 428 

by Mr. Matthew Crooks Cameron, member for North Ontario. 
This, as well as other motions embodying the same principle, was 
defeated by the solid Lower Canadian vote, but the discussions and 
division lists rendered it evident that the Government held office by 
a feeble tenure, and were in fact too weak to carry on the public 
business with any assurance of success. A measure introduced 
by Mr. R. W. Scott, member for Ottawa City, amending the 
Upper Canadian Separate School law, rendered the ministerial posi- 
tion still more precarious. They had adopted the separate school 
system as a part of their programme, but they were now abandoned 
by the entire body of Clear Grits on the question, as well as by 
other members upon whom they had counted for support. At the 
head of the Clear Grits Mr. George Brown once more presented 
himself in the Assembly, having been returned for South Oxford, 
where a vacancy had occurred while the House was in session. His 
views on Rep. by Pop. and separate schools had undergone no change, 
and he now waged war against the Ministry on both those questions. 
A large Upper Canadian majority voted against the separate school 
measure, which, however, was carried by means of the Lower 
Canadians. Under these circumstances the Ministry, who had 
professed to adopt the double majority principle in local matters, 
should have resigned ; but this they were not disposed to do. They 
threw their professions to the winds, and held on to office. For this 
abandonment of their alleged principles they suffered still further 
desertions. Early in May Mr. J. A. Macdonald moved and carried, 
by a majority of five, a direct vote of want of confidence. Ministers 
advised a prorogation with a view to dissolution, which was assented 
to by the Governor. The regular business was completed, and the 
session came to an end on the 12th. A dissolution followed, and 
election writs were issued, returnable on the 3rd of July. 

Two ministerial changes had occurred during the session. On the 
6th of March Mr. Morris, on account of ill-health, resigned the 

430 The Last, Forty Tears. 

Receiver-Generalship, and was succeeded by Mr. Fergusson-Blair. 
On the 10th of May Mr. Adam Wilson ceased to be Solicitor-General, 
and accepted a seat on the bench. Before the appointment of the 
latter's successor, other important changes had become necessary. 
There had for some weeks been a want of perfect harmony 
between the two sections of the Cabinet. The Premier was fully 
conscious of his weakness, and wished to strengthen his position 
by admitting Mr. Dorion and Mr. Hoi ton to office. Mr. Dor ion, 
it was well known, would only accept office as the chief of the 
Lower Canadian section ; and to this Mr. Sicotte would not con- 
sent. A general break-up of the Government ensued. Mr. Sicotte, 
with his Lower Canadian colleagues, withdrew in a body.* Mr. 
Macdonald retained only three of his Upper Canadian Ministers 
Messieurs Howland, McDougall and Fergusson-Blair and supplied 
the places of Messieurs Foley and Wilson by Messieurs Oliver Mowat 
and Lewis Wallbridge. Mr. Dorion, having consented to form the 
Lower Canadian section, applied himself to his task with success, and 
on the 16th four days after the prorogation the Macdonald-Dorion 
Government came into being. It would answer no purpose to give 
the membership at that date, as it underwent various modifications 
before the meeting of Parliament, consequent on the defeat of some 
of the Ministers at the polls. The policy propounded by the late 
Government also underwent modification with a view to the concilia- 
tion of the Clear Grits. The intercolonial railway scheme was for 
the time abandoned, as were also several other projects of less 
importance. The elections came off in the heat of June. In Upper 
Canada the Ministry gained considerably, but the loss in the Lower 
section of the Province left the total result practically unchanged. 
As finally adjusted on the 12th of August the Ministry stood as 
follows : 

* Messieurs Tessier and Abbott did not formally withdraw until the 2~th of the month, 
but it does not appear that they discharged any official duties after the withdrawal of their 

+ <W- Ju&K fv^f%Jf jf 

wn ceased to be Solicitor-General, 

w-J mnpfni a Mt on th* beooh. Before the appointment of the 

Unt changes h*d become necessary. 

I'ni for some week* be*o a want of perfect harmony 

The Premier was fully 

MM*-V wvtkiMM, and wished to strengthen his position 

>noa ni Mr. H office. Mr. Dor ion, 

ifice as the chief of the 

i>jv,u CWMM&WI *H5u..f. and to this Mr.'Sicotte would not con- 

rnment ensued. Mr. Sicotte, 

*ec (jM4<ii*n colleagues, withdrew in a body.* Mr. 

JfattfcMife tliree of his Upper Canadian Ministers 

H# ^l^Dougall and Fergusson-Blair and supp 

iMM v( MrnMitumi Fole y and \V iison by Messieurs Oliver Mowat 

Mi Doriou, Imving consented to form the 

ask with success, and 

iie Macdonald-Dorion 

Govern tueoi <M purpose to give 

"is modifications 

re the QM*li0{ ; ut on the defeat of some 

of the Minii.:r *t jlicy propounded by the 'ate 

ithavii jacilia- 

>< abMtdoiMd, as were aiao Beveral other project of less 

i\a came <M in the heat of ' Mper 

>ly, but the lorn in the Lower 

the total reenlt piuct: -hanged. 

be 12th of August the Ministry stood as 

mnl'y witi.lrw until ib ' 
OMhitjiil *ay aOcil dotio *fUr the itWrwkl of their 


Tlie Eve of Confederation. 431 


The Hon, J. S. Macdonald, Premier and Attorney-General West. 
" " W. McDougall, Commissioner of Crown Lands. 

" W. P. Howland, Receiver-General. 
" " A. J. Fergusson-Blair, Provincial Secretary. 
" " Oliver Mowat, Postmaster-General. 


The Hon. A. A. Dorion, Attorney-General East 
" " L. H. Holton, Minister of Finance. 
" " Isidore Thibaudeau, President of the Council. 
" " L. Letellier de St. Just, Minister of Agriculture. 
" " L. S. Huntington, Solicitor-General East 
" " Maurice Laframboise, Commissioner of Public Works. 

The Solicitor-Generalship for Upper Canada had from the 
original formation of the Government in May been held by 
Lewis Wallbridge, who resigned on the 12th of August the day 
of the final readjustment* The office thenceforward remained 
vacant for more than four months. Mr. Thibaudeau was a wealthy 
Quebec merchant, who had just been returned to the Assembly 
for Quebec Centre. Mr. Huntington, who has since become one 
of the most prominent public men in Canada, was at that time 
comparatively new to Parliamentary life. He had, however, 
even then acquired considerable repute as an advocate and jour- 
nalist, and had made his mark as an effective speaker. He sat 
in the Assembly for the county of Shefford. Mr. Laframboise. 
who represented Bagot, was also an advocate, resident at Montreal. 
The other members of the Ministry are already known to the 

Mr. Wallbridge's resignation seems not to hve actually taken place until tome 
time later, but the official records show that he ceased to hold office, and to draw the 
salary attached thereto, on the date indicated. 

432 The Last Forty Years. 

reader. Mr. Drummond, who had accepted the portfolio of Public 
Works, had failed in his election in two constituencies, and 
had accordingly resigned office. Messieurs Dorion and Holton had 
also sustained defeat, but afterwards secured election in other con- 

The portfolios having been finally apportioned, the first session of 
the Eighth Parliament met on the 13th of August. Mr. Tessier 
was elected Speaker -of the Legislative Council, and Mr. Wallbridge 
of the Assembly. The opening Speech was unimportant ; but the 
Address in Reply evoked the warmest debate in the Assembly that 
had been heard there for years. It soon appeared that what the 
Government had gained on the one hand by reconstruction they had 
lost on the other. The ousted members, Messieurs Sicotte, Foley, 
and McGee, now reinforced the Opposition ranks, and poured out 
the vials of their wrath upon the Premier's head in unstinted tide. 
That gentleman admitted that the policy of the Government 
had been modified during the recess, and he was accused of having 
no fixed policy except a lust for power. Grave charges of un- 
statesmanlike intrigues were brought against him by the ex-minis- 
ters, who gave full rein to their anger. In the wordy warfare Mr. 
Macdonald held his own, for he possessed a sharp tongue the only 
edged tool that grows sharper by constant use and hurled back 
with scathing energy the accusations brought against him. This, 
however, was not precisely the way to win votes, and though 
he contrived to drag through the session, he narrowly escaped 
defeat on several occasions. The legislation was insignificant, too 
much time being taken up by personal discussions to admit of 
important additions to the statute-book. The almost barren session 
came to an end on the loth of October. 

The Government lost further ground during the recess. On the 
26th of December they appointed Mr. Albert Norton Richards, 
member for South Leeds, to the vacant Solicitor-Generalship for 

Ttie Eve of Confederation. 433 

Upper Caaada. Upon returning to his constituents for reelection 
Mr. Richards was opposed by Mr. David Ford Jones, a pronounced 
Conservative, who received all the support which the personal 
presence of the ablest speakers of the Opposition could give him. 
Mr. J. A. Macdonald and T. D. McQee took the field, and delivered 
effective harangues against the Government in different parts of the 
riding. The Solicitor-General was beaten by a majority of 75 votes, 
and this in a constituency wherein he had, a few months before, 
been returned by a majority of 135. He accordingly resigned 
office.* The Premier was determined not to recognize the inevitable 
until the last moment, and still professed confidence in his possessing 
a Parliamentary majority. Under such ominous circumstances the 
Houses met on the 19th of February, 1864. 

The Speech referred, among other matters, to the progress made in 
the erection of the public buildings at Ottawa, and to the probable 
early removal thither of the Seat of Government. The programme 
was not very comprehensive, the Ministry feeling too insecure in 
their positions to venture upon any innovations. The Opposition 
did not move any amendment to the Address, but assailed the 
Ministry on the score of tergiversation and general inefficiency. 
When the business of the session began in earnest, it soon became ap- 
parent that the Government could not command a working majority 
in the Assembly. There was a preponderance of Upper Canadian 
votes in their favour. In the Lower Province they were in a 
decided minority. They commanded a small majority of the whole 
House, but were too weak to carry on the Government with advan- 
tage to the country or themselves. After some fruitless attempts 
at reconstruction, they voluntarily resigned office on the 21st of 

The situation was critical. Parties were divided by majorities so 
narrow that no Government, by whomsoever formed, and of whom- 

HU resignation took pUoe on the 30th of January, 1864. 

434 The Last Forty Years. 

soever composed, could feel safe. The constitution was on its trial, 
and far-seeing statesmen predicted that it would not emerge from 
the ordeal without serious damage. The future looked ominous, and 
a general feeling of insecurity began to permeate the minds of our 
public men. 

The Governor himself could not conceal his anxiety. As a possi- 
ble means of getting over the crisis, he entrusted the ex -Provincial 
Secretary, Mr. Fergusson-Blair, with the formation of a Ministry. 
That gentleman made the attempt, and failed. Mr. Cartier was 
applied to, with a precisely similar result. His Excellency then had 
recourse to Sir Etienne formerly known to us as Colonel Tacho. 
Since his retirement from the Government in November, 1857, the 
Colonel had had the dignity of knighthood conferred upon him by 
Her Majesty. Of late he had not taken any very conspicuous part 
in public affairs, though he had regularly attended the sittings of the 
Legislative Council, of which having been appointed under the old 
system he was a life member. No man in the country was more 
highly respected. He had been approached by the late Premier, Mr. 
J. S. Macdonald, with a view to taking charge of the Lower Canadian 
section of the Cabinet. Similar approaches had more recently been 
made by Mr. Fergusson-Blair. To all overtures Sir Etienne had 
hitherto responded courteously, but unfavourably. He had reached 
an age when ambition had no longer much sway over him. He 
loved quiet, and had no longing to undertake the burden of con- 
structing and carrying on a Government, more especially in the face 
of manifold difficulties. The matter being pressed upon him in the 
light of a public duty, however, and it being represented to him that 
he, more than any man in the country, was in a position to bring 
confidence to the Administration, he consented to make the attempt. 
He put himself in communication with Mr. John A. Macdonald, who 
undertook the formation of the Upper Canada section of the Admin- 
istration. The arrangements occupied some days, and were attended 

27te Eve of Confederation. 435 

with no little difficulty, but they were finally successful, and on the 
30th of the month the new Ministers took possession of their port- 
folios. Thus, for the second time since the Union, a Tach6-Macdonald 
Government came into existence. The membership was as follows : 


The Hon. Sir E. P. Tache*, Premier and Receiver-General 

" G. K-Cartier, Attorney-General East 
" " A. T. Gait, Minister of Finance. 
" " J. C. Chapais, Commissioner of Public Works. 
" " T. D. McGee, Minister of Agriculture. 
" " H. L. Langevin, Solicitor-General East 


The Hon. J. A. Macdonald, Attorney-General West 
" " Alexander Campbell, Commissioner of Crown Lands. 

" M. H. Foley, Postmaster-General. 
" " Isaac Buchanan, President of the Council. 
" " John Simpson, Provincial Secretary. 
" " James Cockburn, Solicitor-General West 

The reader has formed the acquaintance of all these gentlemen 
except the two last-named. Mr. Simpson was a prominent citizen 
of Niagara, which constituency he represented in the Assembly. 
Mr. Cockburn, who represented West Northumberland, was a bar- 
rister, and resided at Cobourg. 

Mr. Foley had always up to this time acted with the Reformers 
of Upper Canada, so that the new Administration partook, to that 
extent, of the nature of a Coalition. In other respects it was 
essentially Liberal-Conservative in its character. Its policy was 
declared in the Assembly by Mr. Cauchon in French, and by John 
Hillyard Cameron in English. It embraced a strict attention to the 

436 The Last Forty Tears. 

Provincial defences, and an effort to place the militia in an effective 
condition ; an endeavour to maintain and extend the Reciprocity 
Treaty, and to establish more intimate commercial relations with 
the Maritime Provinces. Departmental reform and retrenchment 
in the public service were also promised, and it was announced that 
the question of the representation of the people in Parliament would 
remain an open question. After some discussion of this programme, 
Parliament adjourned, on the 31st, in order to enable Ministers to 
complete their arrangements, and to secure re-election in their re- 
spective constituencies. The adjournment was until the 3rd of May 



"Thui passed away in calm a Constitution which, born in itrife and turmoil, sprung 
from maladministration and rebellion, forced upon a reluctant Province without consult- 
ing its people, and against the wishes of the majority of Its inhabitants, had nevertheless, 
during twenty-five years of unexampled prosperity and material progress, laid the founda- 
tion deep and strong of true constitutional liberty." COKTKDKBATION, by the Han. Jolin 
Hamilton Gray, D.C.L., M.P., p. 372. 

I HEN the Houses reassembled on the 3rd of May, after 
a recess of nearly five weeks, the Ministry had to 
encounter a spirit which boded ill to their permanent 
existence. Mr. Foley had been defeated by a con- 
siderable majority in North Waterloo by Mr. Isaac 
Bowman, a local Reformer. The other Ministers had 
all been reflected, but they had in several instances been opposed 
with a stern determination that had done much to diminish their 
confidence in the future. Immediately after the reassembling, it was 
made clear that no forbearance would be shown them : that they 
would have to fight their way inch by inch, and that sharp advan- 
tage would be taken of any false step on their part. Attorney- 
General Macdonald's supplementary explanations of the official 
programme evoked scathing ridicule and condemnation from the 
Opposition. A few days afterwards, a motion which was practically 
one of want of confidence was defeated by a majority of only two. 
There seemed to be little prospect of any useful legislation, or 
of public affairs being carried on with vigour or efficiency. The 
primary object of Ministers was to maintain themselves in power ; 

438 The Last Forty Years. 

the primary object of the Opposition was to turn them out. The 
majority of the Government was so insignificant as scarcely to 
deserve the name of a majority at all. They were no stronger 
than their predecessors, who had voluntarily resigned office because 
of their inability to carry on the public business with efficiency. 

Such a condition of affairs could have but one ending, and that 
ending came on the 14th of June. Any pretext was sufficient to 
seal the doom of the Ministry. It had come to light that in the 
year 1859 a sum of $100,000 had been advanced from the public 
chest by Mr. Gait, then Minister of Finance in the Cartier-Macdonald 
Government, to redeem bonds given by the city of Montreal to the 
Atlantic and St. Lawrence Railway Company. By an arrangement 
entered into after their issue, these bonds had been made redeemable 
by the Grand Trunk, to which company the Provincial advance had 
really been made ; and this had been done without the sanction or 
knowledge of Parliament. As an amendment to a motion to go into 
Committee of Supply, Mr. A. A. Dorion now moved a resolution 
censuring this transaction. Though directed chiefly against Mr. 
Gait, the resolution reflected on the Cartier-Macdonald Government 
as a whole, and it was alleged that the existing Ministry was in all 
essential respects a resuscitation of the Cartier-Macdonald Govern- 
ment. From a constitutional point of view this latter position was 
not tenable, but the Tache"-Macdonald Administration announced 
their resolve to stand by Mr. Gait in the transaction, and to share 
in any censure which might be cast upon him. The motion did not 
seek to fix any stigma upon Mr. Gait beyond a culpable negligence 
in keeping the Provincial accounts ; but he was by no means dis- 
posed to admit even such a modified degree of culpability, and 
defended himself in a speech of much plausibility and power. Had 
the Government possessed in any large measure the confidence of 
Parliament on questions of general policy they might have laughed 
at Mr. Dorion's motion, but, being already moribund, they sue- 

The Birth of the Dominion. 439 

cunibed to the attack. Messieurs Dunkin and Rankin both of 
whom had theretofore given them their support voted for the 
motion, thereby placing the ministerial majority of two on the side 
of the Opposition. The vote stood 60 to 58. 

Tire Ministry deliberated. Should they attempt a reconstruction, 
or demand a dissolution ? Neither project seemed to promise any 
very satisfactory results. Even should they resign, and give the 
Opposition an opportunity of forming a Government, parties were 
so nearly balanced that neither could hope to live, except upon the 
suiTerance of the other. Public affairs were literally at a dead-lock. 
Both parties had tried in vain to carry on the Government of tho 
country. Successive dissolutions and elections had served no pur- 
pose except to intensify the spirit of faction, and to array the con- 
tending parties more bitterly against each other. Four different 
ministries had been condemned within little more than two years. 
The state of affairs seemed hopeless, for the constitution itself was 
manifestly unequal to the task imposed upon it It was how- 
ever necessary that something should be done, and at once, as 
the sessional business was unfinished, and the Opposition were 
impatient. Of the various courses open to the Government, the one 
which seemed to offer the least unsatisfactory results was a new 
election. It was certain that no Ministry could be formed that would 
command strong support in the existing Assembly, whereas it was 
just possible that a newly-elected House might be found less imprac- 
ticable. Ministers accordingly advised a dissolution, with a view to 
a fresh appeal to the people. His Excellency, after deliberation, 
acted on the advice, and gave them authority to dissolve. 

But a more satisfactory way out of the difficulty presented itself, 
and one for which even the most sanguine had not ventured to hope. 
On the loth the day after the ministerial defeat Mr. Brown had 
a conversation with Messieurs Alexander Morris and John Henry 
Pope, members respectively for South Lanark and Compton in the 

440 The Last Forty Years. 

Assembly. He deprecated the dead-lock, and expressed his opinion 
that the existing ministerial crisis should be utilized " in settling 
forever the constitutional difficulties between Upper and Lower 
Canada."* He also expressed his personal willingness to cooperate 
"with the existing or any other Administration" that would 
promptly and firmly deal with the question. Mr. Brown had been 
Chairman of a Parliamentary Committee which had been appointed 
some time before, to take into consideration the best means of remedy- 
ing the grave difficulties which presented themselves in conducting 
the Government. The Committee had held eight meetings, and had 
given careful consideration to the all-important subjects which had 
come before them. They had reported that a strong feeling existed 
among them, " in favour of changes in the direction of a federative 
system," applied either to Canada alone or to all the British North 
American Provinces. Their report had been handed in only a few 
hours when the ministerial defeat occurred. The two events thus 
concurring in point of time, seemed to present a pertinent com- 
mentary upon each other ; and Mr. Brown's conversation with 
Mr. Morris and Mr. Pope on the following day afforded a practical 
suggestion of which the two last-named gentlemen availed them- 
selves. They were both trusted supporters of the Administration, 
and Mr. Morris had long been an advocate of a Federal Union of the 
Provinces. They obtained Mr. Brown's permission to communicate 
his views to Mr. J. A. Macdonald and Mr. Gait. The result was 
that on Friday, the 17th, the two gentlemen last named waited upon 
Mr. Brown at his rooms in the St. Louis Hotel, when negotiations 
were opened which resulted in the formation of the most important 
coalition known to our history. The two Ministers informed Mr. 
Brown that they had been charged by their colleagues to invite his 

See the statement signed by Messieurs E. P. Tache', George Brown, J. A. Macdonald, 
G. E. Cartier, and A. T. Gait, read by Attorney-General Macdonald to the Assembly on 
the 22nd of June. 

The Birth of the Dominion. 441 

cooperation in strengthening the Government, with a view to a 
settlement of the constitutional difficulties between the two sections 
of the Province. Mr. Brown stated that in his opinion nothing but 
the extreme urgency of the circumstances, and the hope of perma- 
nently settling the sectional question, could justify their meeting 
together with a view to common political action. On this point his 
interlocutors fully agreed with him ; whereupon Mr. Brown repeated, 
in effect, what he had stated to Mr. Morris and Mr. Pope, but added 
that, for personal reasons, he could not consent to enter the Admin- 
istration. There is no need to go through the details of the 
negotiations step by step. There were repeated conferences, 
at which, in addition to the three gentlemen already named, 
Messieurs Tache' and Cartier took part. In a few days 
the basis of the momentous coalition was agreed upon, and 
on the 22ud the fact was announced to Parliament. It was 
settled that the Government should pledge themselves to bring in a 
measure during the next session to remove existing difficulties by 
introducing the federal principle into Canada, coupled with such 
provision as would permit the Maritime Provinces and the North- 
West to be incorporated into the same system of government. Rep- 
resentatives were to be sent to the Maritime Provinces and to 
England, to secure the assent of interests beyond the control of the 
Canadian Legislature to such a measure as would enable all British 
North America " to be united under a general legislature, based upon 
the federal principle." Mr. Brown's objections to entering the Min- 
istry were overcome, and he now consented to enter it with two 
colleagues from Upper Canada. 

It is hardly a figure of speech to say that Parliament and the 
country were electrified at hearing the announcement that George 
Brown and John A. Macdonald had agreed to sit side by side in the 
same Cabinet As might have been expected, there were wide 
divergences of opinion. A few persons disapproved of the federal 

442 The Last Forty fears. 

scheme in toto. Others, conspicuous among whom were Mr. A. A. 
Dorion and Mr. Holton, believed that the time was not ripe for such 
a project. Mr. Dorion would have consented to the substitution of 
a federal union of Upper and Lower Canada, in place of the existing 
legislative union. Indeed, as has been seen,* he had years before 
expressed his approval of such a change in the constitution ; but he 
regarded the larger scheme of a general confederation of the British 
North American Provinces as being altogether in advance of the 
necessities of the time. Mr. Dunkin declared that such a union 
would lead to more serious embarrassment and confusion than had 
ever existed in Canada. A number of Upper Canadian Reformers, 
while approving the principle underlying the scheme, disapproved of 
Mr. Brown's conduct in entering the Government, and predicted that 
his doing so would be the means of once more breaking up the 
party to which he belonged. These latter, moreover, objected to 
the acceptance by the Opposition of only three seats in the Cabinet. 
The Opposition, it was urged, had a majority of two in the Assem- 
bly, as had been proved by the vote on the 14th. Why then should 
they consent to accept three seats, leaving nine to the Ministerial- 
ists, who were in a minority ? There was but one opinion, however, 
as to the patriotic motives by which all parties had been actuated 
in entering upon the negotiations, and it was evident enough that 
Upper Canadians generally were in favour of supporting the coali- 
tion. As for Mr. Brown himself, he had abundant reason for self- 
gratulation. The joint authority scheme which he had time after 
time advocated in the Assembly, and which had been received 
by Liberal-Conservatives with ironical derision, had at last com- 
mended itself to the intelligence of those very persons who had so 
contemptuously laughed it down. It is due to Mr. (J. A.) Macdonald 
to say that from the time when he became a convert to the joint 

Ante, p. 404. 

The Birth of the Dominion. 443 

authority project he was one of its very ablest advocates.* It was 
understood that the alliance between the opposing political parties 
was to be maintained until the project of Confederation should be 
fully accomplished. 

The sessional business was hurried through, and on the 30th of the 
month Parliament was prorogued. On the same day the ministerial 
readjustments were carried out. Mr. Brown entered the Government 
as President of the Council, Mr. Buchanan having resigned that office. 
Mr. Mowat became Postmaster-General instead of Mr. Foley; and 
Mr. McDougall became Provincial Secretary in place of Mr. Simpson, 
who was soon after appointed Assistant Auditor of Public Accounts. 
Mr. Brown and Mr. Mowat were reelected in their respective con- 
stituencies. Mr. McDougall was defeated in North Ontario by Mr. 
M C. Cameron, but three months afterwards found a seat for North 
Lanark, where the sitting member resigned in his favour. 

The history of Confederation has been written at connidOTibk 
length by a gentleman who took a not undistinguished part in the 
initiatory proceedings for bringing it about-f- A bare outline is all 
that can be attempted here. As every well-informed Canadian 
knows, the project had occupied men's minds, at intervals, for many 
years prior to the Union of 1841. It has been seen that the idea 
had engaged the attention of the Canadian people and Legislature, 
as well as of the Government, in comparatively recent times.* The 
discussion of the subject had not been confined to Canada. In Nova 
Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island the idea of a 
union between themselves had long been under discussion, and in 1864 

" Her* we get a glimpse of the line where his Conservatism end* and his readiness to 
reform begins. He will not consent to be hurried, but no one can nay that on any given 
question hii finality of to-day may not be his starting-point at some future time. "Canadian 
Portrait Oallery, VoL I., p. 14. 

Confederation, etc., by the Hon. John Hamilton Gray, D.C.L., M.F., VoL 1 
Toronto, 1872. 

pp. 173, 383, 388, 389. 

444 The Last Forty Years. 

the Legislatures of those Provinces had passed resolutions author- 
izing the holding of a Convention for the purpose of effecting that 
object. The delegates were to meet at Charlottetown, P.E.I., in the 
following September. The new Coalition Government in Canada 
determined to take advantage of the opportunity thus afforded, and 
to bring before the Convention the merits of the larger scheme of a 
general union of all the Provinces. Eight* of the Ministers accord- 
ingly proceeded to Charlottetown at the time appointed. Though 
they had no official standing at the Convention, which had been 
summoned to discuss a question in which Canada had no direct 
concern, they were immediately upon their arrival invited to be 
present, and to express their views with the utmost freedom. This, 
of course, had been the precise object of their mission, and they 
accepted the invitation as cordially as it had been given. Their 
representations produced such an effect upon the delegates that, 
after remaining in session some days, it was resolved that the 
Convention should adjourn to a date to be fixed by the Governor- 
General, when the members should re-assemble at Quebec, to confer 
with Canadian representatives on the question of a general union. 
On this understanding the proceedings at Charlottetown came to an 
end. The Canadian emissaries then proceeded to Halifax, and thence 
to St. John, at both of which towns they did much to influence 
public opinion by means of able speeches delivered at banquets 
held in their honour. Upon their return to Canada they formally 
advised his Excellency of what they had accomplished, and recom- 
mended the naming of an early day for the meeting at Quebec. 
His Excellency accordingly fixed upon the 10th of October, and 
notified the respective Lieutenant-Governors of Nova Scotia, New 
Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland. 

On the date indicated the Quebec Conference was opened. Canada 

* J. A. Macdonald, George Brown, G. E. Cartier, A. T. Gait, T. D. MoGee, H. L, 
Langerin, W. McDougall and Alexander Campbell. 


The Birth of the Dominion. 445 

was represented by the twelve members of the Administration. 
Nova Scotia was represented by 

The Hon. Charles Tapper, Provincial Secretary. 
" " William Alexander Henry, Attorney-General. 
" " Jonathan McCully, Leader of Opposition. 

" Robert B. Dickey, M.L.C. 
" " Adams George Archibald, M.P.P. 

New Brunswick was represented by 

The Hon. Samuel Leonard Tilley, Provincial Secretary. 

" " John M. Johnson, Attorney-General 

" William H. Steeves, M.L.C. 

" Edward Barren Chandler, M.L.C. 

" Peter Mitchell, M.L.C. 

" John Hamilton Gray, M.P.P. 

" Charles Fisher, M.P.P. 

The representatives of Prince Edward Island were 

The Hon. John Hamilton Gray, Premier. 

" " Edward Palmer, Attorney-General. 

" " William H. Pope, Provincial Secretary. 

" A. A. Macdonald, M.L.Q. 

" Edward Whelan, M.L.C. 

" George Coles, M.P.P. 

" T. H. Haviland, M.P.P. 

Newfoundland sent only two representatives, viz., 

The Hon. F. B. Carter, Speaker of the House of Assembly. 
" John Ambrose Shea, Leader of Opposition. 

Sir Etienne Tache", the Canadian Premier, was chosen President of 
the Conference, and Major Hewitt Bernard, of the staff of the 
Attorney-General West, was appointed Secretary. The sittings, like 
those at Charlottetown in September, were held with closed doors. 

446 The Last Forty Tears. 

The Conference lasted until the 28th of the month. Resolutions 
embodying the principal points of confederation, but differing in 
some material respects from those which finally formed the basis of 
Imperial legislation, were adopted. The deliberations having been 
brought to a close, the delegates from the Maritime Provinces were 
hospitably entertained in some of the principal Canadian towns, 
after which they repaired to their homes. Each body of Provincial 
delegates stood pledged to use their utmost endeavours to secure the 
concurrence of their respective Legislatures in the project which had 
been adopted. 

Certain depredations committed by Southern refugees during the 
autumn caused a good deal of temporary excitement in Canada, and 
did not tend to improve the far from cordial feeling that existed 
between us and our neighbours across the lines. During the pro- 
gress of the Great Rebellion many Southerners found Canada a 
more congenial place of abode than their own land. They met 
with much friendliness and sympathy, for more especially since 
the Trent affair Canadians generally favoured the Southern cause. 
As that cause grew more and more desperate, its adherents became 
reckless, and formed various plots with a view to the discomfiture 
of the North. Some of these plots doubtless had their origin in an 
undisciplined and misdirected patriotism. Others would seem to 
have been dictated by a spirit of downright spoliation and robbery, 
and our country was made the base of operation of some of the least 
justifiable. The contiguity of Canada to the States facilitated the 
machinations of the plotters, and the strong sympathies of the 
Canadian people seemed to promise immunity from punishment. 
During the summer of 1864 a scheme was arranged by a number of 
the refugees for the capture of some of the steamers plying on Lakes 
Erie and Ontario, and belonging to American merchants. In Sep- 
tember two vessels were actually seized and partly plundered. A 
few weeks later a raid was made on St. Albans, a little town in 

The Birth of the Dominion. 447 

Vermont, near the frontier, by twenty-three Southerners under the 
command of Bennett H. Young, an ex-Confederate soldier. The 
raiders plundered three of the local banks, shot one of the cashiers, 
and escaped to Canada with $233,000 booty. This was a proceeding 
which the Canadian authorities could not ignore. Companies of 
volunteers were distributed along the frontier to prevent any further 
breaches of the neutrality laws, and fourteen of the culprits were 
arrested at the instance of the American authorities, who demanded 
their extradition under the Ashburton Treaty. Judge Coursol, of 
Montreal, before whom the enquiry took place, discharged the 
prisoners from custody on technical grounds. About $90,000, being 
part of the cash plundered at St. Albans, had been found upon their 
persons at the time of their arrest. This was now returned to them, 
but eventually had to be accounted for and paid by the Canadian 
Government. After their discharge by Judge Coursol, several of 
them were re-arrested and tried before the Superior Court at Mon- 
treal. It was claimed on their behalf that they had throughout 
acted under instructions from the Confederate Government. The 
Court decided that they were belligerents, and as such not amenable 
to extradition under the charge as instituted. They were accord- 
ingly once more set at liberty early in the spring of 1865. The 
American Government declined to press the matter further, but the 
Canadian authorities had several of them re-arrested and sent to 
Toronto, to be tried for a breach of the neutrality laws. Public 
opinion in Montreal was so decidedly in favour of the Southerners 
that it was believed an impartial trial was not to be had there ; and 
to that belief the action of the Government in changing the venue 
was doubtless attributable. After examination before the Recorder 
of Toronto, all the prisoners except Young were discharged from 
custody for want of sufficient evidence to justify their detention. 
Young was formally committed for trial, but was admitted to bail. 
After some months of delay a nolle proaequi was entered in the 
case ; and that was the last of the St Albans Raid prosecutions. 

448 The Last Forty Years. 

During the month of November, 1864, Mr. Mowat, having accepted 
a seat on the judicial bench as one of the Vice-Chancellors of Upper 
Canada, ceased to be a member of the Government. It was necessary 
that his successor should be some one high in the confidence of the 
Upper Canadian Reformers, and after careful consideration, Mr. 
W. P. Howland was chosen to fill the Postmaster-Generalship. He 
had gained ministerial experience as Minister of Finance in the 
Macdonald-Sicotte Government, and as Receiver-General in the 
Macdonald-Dorion Government ; and he was moreover known as a 
man of high character and sound judgment. His appointment to 
office was well received by the country at large, and he was reelected 
by acclamation for his constituency of West York. 

No other event of special public interest occurred until the meet- 
ing of Parliament on the 19th of January, 1865, when the Governor, 
in his opening Speech, spoke strongly in favour of Confederation. 
He informed the Houses that the Home Government approved of 
the project, and would introduce the necessary legislation into the 
Imperial Parliament as soon as the several Provincial Legislatures 
should have declared their sanction. The session lasted nearly two 
months, the greater part of it being taken up by debates on the 
great scheme which, for the time, overshadowed every other. The 
strength of the Government was overwhelming, though the Opposi- 
tion numbered in its ranks some of the ablest men in Parliament, 
including Messieurs Dorion, Holton, Dunkin, Huntington and J. S. 
Macdonald. The Address in Reply was carried in the Assembly at 
a single sitting, the only amendment being defeated by a vote of 64 
to 25. This amendment, which was moved by Mr. A. A. Dorion, 
and seconded by Mr. Laframboise, was to the effect that the 
House did not desire to disturb existing political relations, or to 
create a new nationality. Only four of the minority represented 
Upper Canadian constituencies. Upper Canadian public opinion, 
indeed, was by this time almost unanimous in favour of Con- 

The Birth of the Dominion. 449 

federation. la the Lower section of the Province there was a 
formidable Opposition, but Mr. Cartier's influence backed, as it was, 
by that of the priesthood prevailed, and some of his speeches on 
the subject displayed a breadth of view for which the world had not 
previously given him credit.* The published debates of the session, 
on the subject of Confederation alone, occupy a volume of 1032 
double-column imperial octavo pages. It is neither possible nor 
desirable to give even the briefest outline of them in the present 
work. It may be said of several of the speeches, however, that 
they would have been creditable to any assembly in the world, and 
that no Canadian can read them without a feeling of pride. Of 
the ministerial utterances, those of Messieurs Macdonald, Brown, 
Gait, McOee, and Cartier are worthy of careful study. Among 
those of the Opposition, several are specially noticeable, but that 
of Mr. Dunkin, which occupied two days and two nights in 
delivery, was a veritable address per se. " His speech," says the 
author already quoted from at the head of this chapter, " was 
certainly the most elaborate and the most exhaustive of all the 
speeches either for or against the proposition. Every conceivable 
and almost inconceivable objection was taken and worked out to its 
extrcmest limit. All that a well-read public man, all that a strong 
party politician, all that an ingenious lawyer, all that a thorough 
sophist, a dexterous logician, a timid patriot, or a prophet of evil 
could array against the scheme was brought up and pressed with un- 
flagging energy."f But all things must end sooner or later, and the 

* Mr. Cauchon was also an important factor in moulding Lower Canadian public opinion 
in favour of Confederation. Fnr some monthi his pen wu busily engaged in depicting the 
advantages which must ensue from the proposed change, and his U Union da Prorincet 
tie I'Amiriqut Britannique du Nord was an important contribution to the Lower Cana- 
dian literature on the subject. It was translated into English by Mr. G. H. Macaulay, 
and was widely read both in Canada and the Maritime Provinces. 

t Confederation, by the Hon. John Hamilton Gray, D.C.L., M.P. ; Volume I nn, 

-: 1.272. 

450 The Last Forty Years. 

Confederation debates of 1865 obeyed the universal law. On Friday, 
the 10th of March, a motion introduced five weeks before by Attor- 
ney-General Macdonald : " That an humble Address be presented to 
Her Majesty, praying that she may be graciously pleased to cause a 
measure to be submitted to the Imperial Parliament, for the purpose 
of uniting the colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, New- 
foundland and Prince Edward Island in one Government, with pro- 
visions based on certain Resolutions which were adopted at a Con- 
ference of Delegates from the said colonies, held at the city of Quebec 
on the 10th of October, 1864: " was carried by a vote of 91 to 33.* A 
similar motion introduced by the Premier, Sir E. P. Tach4, had been 
carried in the Legislative Council on the 20th of February by a 
vote of 45 to 15. In accordance with these proceedings, addresses 
were duly prepared and presented to Lord Monck for transmission 
to Her Majesty. On the 18th of March Parliament was prorogued, 
and during the following month a deputation consisting of four 
members of the Administration Messieurs J. A. Macdonald, Cartier, 
Brown and Gait proceeded to England to confer with the Imperial 
Government, and generally to promote the scheme of Confederation. 
In the Maritime Provinces the project had meanwhile encountered 
serious opposition. In New Brunswick a general election had just 
taken place, and had resulted in the return of a majority hostile to 
the proposed union. Nova Scotia also showed a disposition to 
remain aloof, and the Assembly of that Province adopted resolutions 
in favour of a union of the Maritime Provinces alone. Newfound- 
land allowed the project to remain in abeyance ; and the Prince 
Edward Island Legislature not only passed resolutions antagonistic 
to Confederation, but even went the length of repudiating the action 
of the Provincial delegates at the Quebec Conference. 

54 of the majority and 8 of the minority were Upper Canadian representatives. The 
remaining 37 of the majority and 25 of the minority were Lower Canadians. This 
analysis affords a tolerably correct indication of the state of public opinion in the two 

TJic Birth of the Dominion. 451 

Notwithstanding these discouragements, the Canadian Adminis- 
tration steadily persevered in the course upon which they had 
resolved. The four delegates to England received fresh assurances 
of Imperial concurrence in their plans. There was no thought of 
coercing the Maritime Provinces into accepting Confederation against 
their will, and their right either to accept or reject it was distinctly 
recognized by all parties concerned. An Imperial guarantee of a 
loan for the construction of an intercolonial line of railway was ob- 
tained by the Canadian delegates. The latter were authorized to say 
that Canada would devote all her resources, both in men and money, 
for the maintenance of her connection with the mother country. 
The Imperial Government admitted the reciprocal obligation of 
defending every portion of the Empire with all the resources at 
their command, and undertook to complete certain fortifications at 
Quebec, as well as to provide all necessary armaments. The cession 
of the North- West Territories by the Hudson's Bay Company was 
also taken into consideration, and measures were adopted to ascer- 
tain precisely what rights the Company possessed. The negotiations 
throughout were conducted with care and discretion, and the most 
important details of Confederation were fully discussed and settled. 
The delegates returned to Canada during the summer, and on the 
8th of August Parliament met to receive and consider their report 

The American war had come to an end by the surrender of General 
Lee to General Grant at Appomattox in the preceding April. The 
assassination of President Lincoln had followed in less than a week 
afterwards. Both these events naturally created a profound sensa- 
tion in this country, and some anxiety was felt as to the policy of 
the new President. The general feelin * entertained by the people 
of the United States towards Canada was far from kindly. They 
not unnaturally resented the succour and sympathy which had been 
extended to the Southerners. The formal notice required for the 
abrogation of the Reciprocity Treaty had been given by the States, 

452 The Last Forty Years. 

and its operation would accordingly come to an end in March of the 
following year. The accession of President Johnson produced no 
change in the international relations, and the Government at 
Washington persistently refused to entertain any proposition for 
a renewal of the treaty. 

On the 30th of July a few days before the opening of Parliament 
the Premier, Sir E. P. Tactic 1 , died, full of years and honours. He 
had been unable to stand the excitement of ministerial life, and his 
health had begun to give way soon after his acceptance of office 
in the preceding year. His position had rendered it necessary 
that he should take a more or less active part in the deliberations 
of the Government, and, as has been seen, he had been chosen to 
preside at the Quebec Conference. Though he had subsequently 
kept as much as possible aloof from public duties, he had been unable 
to avoid a share of fatigue and labour, which had told seriously 
upon his already weakened system. The immediate cause of his 
death was an internal abscess. His successor in the Cabinet was 
Sir N. F. Belleau, who accepted office upon the understanding that 
the original policy of the Coalition Government should be carried 
out, with such modifications only as the obstructions offered by the 
Maritime Provinces had rendered necessary. The new Premier's 
entry into the Government was due to the influence of Messieurs 
J. A. Macdonald and G. E. Cartier, and was not specially agreeable 
to the three Reform members, who however accepted him as a 
colleague rather than imperil the success of their policy by internal 

"Without intending the slightest discourtesy to Sir Narcisse Belleau, we deem it 
right to remind you that we would not have selected that gentleman as successor to Sir 
Etienne Tache' ; but as he is the selection of Mr. Cartier and yourself, and as we are 
equally with you desirous of preventing the scheme for the Confederation of British 
America receiving injury from the appearance of disunion among us, we shall offer no 
objection to his appointment." Letter of the Bon. Oeo. Brown to the Hon. J. A . Macdonald, 
dated 5th August, 1S6S. 

The Birth of the Dominion. 453 

The short session which opened on the 8th of August was the 
final session of the Canadian Legislature at Quebec. It lasted barely 
six weeks, and was closed on the 18th of September. The minis- 
terial strength was such that business was pushed through without 
effective opposition, and with very little delay. The report of the 
delegates to England was laid before the Assembly, and full explana- 
tions were given respecting the negotiations which had taken place. 
Correspondence between the Colonial Secretary and the Governor- 
General on the subject of Confederation was also submitted. Inde- 
pendently of the discussions on the proposed union, the most 
important proceeding of the session was the adoption of the Civil 
Code of Lower Canada. The Commissioners appointed under the 
Act of 1857 * had completed their labours, and all that remained to 
be done was to pass a measure bringing the result of those labours 
into operation. A Bill to effect this purpose was accordingly intro- 
duced and carried through by Attorney-General Cartier, who made 
a very able and effective speech on the subject " He spoke," says 
one f who was present on the occasion, " with the feeling of a man 
who is conscious that he is placing the crowning stone on an edifice 
which has cost him years of labour and anxiety to build." By virtue 
of the Act then passed, and of a proclamation subsequently issued 
by the Governor under its authority, the code came into operation 
on the 1st of August, 1866. 

Ten days after the adjournment of the session Lord Monck 
deputed the temporary charge of the Administration to Lieutenant- 
General Sir John Michel, Comraander-in-Chief of the Forces, and 
set out on a visit to England, where he remained about four months. 
The death of Lord Palmerston on the 18th of October, and the 
succession of Earl Russell as head of the English Cabinet, produced 
no change in the Imperial policy towards the colonies. Canada felt 

Ante, pp. 351, 352. 

+ The Ute Mr. S. J. WaUon. Se The Canadian Portrait Gallery, Vol. I., p. 79. 

454 The Last Forty Years. 

that England was with her on the Confederation question, and the 
adoption of that project, so far, at least, as Canada was concerned, 
was no longer doubtful. During the autumn the public offices were 
removed to Ottawa, where the Parliament Buildings were rapidly 
approaching completion. As a matter of convenience the Cabinet 
meetings were for a short time held at Montreal. 

All through the year 1865 various rumours were afloat as to 
a contemplated invasion of Canada from the United States by 
the Fenian Brotherhood. The close of the Southern rebellion 
had set free a horde of turbulent spirits, many of whom were Irish 
by birth or extraction. Their experience in the American army 
had given them a distaste for the ordinary pursuits of life, and, 
under the direction of adventurous and unprincipled leaders, they 
had for some months past been forming plans for the liberation 
of Ireland from the " thraldom of the Saxon." As a step in 
that direction they conceived the idea of making a descent upon 
Canada, and of making it the base of their operations against England. 
That they really expected to succeed in such an undertaking, with 
such means as they had at their command, seems almost incredible ; 
but anything was better in their estimation than settling down to 
honest labour, and it was resolved that the enterprise should at any 
rate be attempted. They were permitted to make their preparations 
openly, and there was no pretence of secrecy as to their intentions. 
In Canada there was a disposition to treat the movement with con- 
tempt, but precautions were nevertheless taken, and volunteers were 
called out, who responded to the call with cheerful alacrity. Such 
was the state of affairs when the winter of 1865-6 was ushered in. 

The most noteworthy event that marked the close of the year 
was the withdrawal of Mr. Brown from the Cabinet ; an event 
which was consummated on the 21st of December. The reason 
assigned for his withdrawal renders a brief explanation necessary. 
The impending termination of the Reciprocity Treaty with the 

The Birth, of the Dominion. 455 

States was regarded with much anxiety by the mercantile com- 
munity of Canada. It was inevitable that exports and imports 
should be seriously affected, and it was deemed very desirable that 
communications should be opened with South America and the West 
Indies, with a view to the establishment of new avenues of trade. 
A Commission, under the direction of Mr. McDougall, was appointed 
to effect that object But it was still more desirable that a renewal of 
the treaty with the States should bo obtained, and though the Wash- 
ington authorities had hitherto refused to entertain any proposal to 
that effect, it was resolved that a further effort should be made. In 
compliance with a suggestion from the Home Government, a Con- 
federate Council on Commercial Treaties had been formed at Quebec 
during the progress of the late session. It consisted of representa- 
tives of each Province of the proposed Confederation, and its mem- 
bers matured their plans in the course of the ensuing autumn. It 
recommended that a deputation should b sent to Washington to 
make a final attempt at renewal. The Government adopted the 
recommendation, and appointed delegates. The terms upon which 
the latter were empowered to negotiate formed the pretext for Mr. 
Brown's retirement from the Government. He found himself out of 
accord with his colleagues on the subject. He considered that Canada 
could exist without reciprocity, and that it was a mistake to exhibit 
eagerness by sending delegates to the American capital. His con- 
tention will be best understood by a short extract from his expla- 
nations to Parliament during the next session, when the Reciprocity 
Treaty had come to an end. " I was," said he, " as much in favour 
of a renewal of reciprocity as any member of this House, but I 
wanted a fair treaty ; and we should not overlook the fact, while 
admitting its benefits, that the treaty was attended with some 
disadvantages to us. I contend that we should not have gone to 
Washington as suitors for any terms they were pleased to give 
us. We were satisfied with the treaty, and the American Gov- 

456 The Last Forty Years. 

eminent should have come to us with a proposition, since they, 
not we, desired a change."* 

It seems to be generally understood that, though the reciprocity 
negotiations afforded a suitable pretext for Mr. Brown's retirement 
from the Ministry, the real ground was to be found in a deeper 
source in the natural antagonism between men of diverse tempera- 
ments. Neither politically nor otherwise had he anything, beyond 
his manhood, in common with the other leading members of the 
Government. The inevitable friction produced by the contact of 
such opposites had been to some extent perceptible ever since the 
formation of the coalition. Mr. Brown doubtless felt that he and 
his two Reform colleagues were overweighted by the numerical odds 
against them in the Cabinet, and it was but natural that he should 
chafe under the consciousness that he was in a false position : a 
position where his influence was not commensurate with his abilities 
and his ambition. But such a state of things must surely have been 
foreseen, and the cost of the enterprise ought to have been fully 
taken into account before it was entered upon. There is room for 
difference of opinion as to whether Mr. Brown should have entered 
the Government in the first place ; but there would seem to be no 
escape from the conclusion that, being once in, he ought to have 
endured a heavy tax upon his forbearance rather than resign, until 
the scheme of Confederation had been perfected.-f- The acceptance 
of the scheme by the Government had been no mean triumph for 
him, but by deserting the ship in mid-ocean he deprived himself of 
much of the eclat which would justly have been his due had he 
assisted to steer her into port. 

See the reports of the debate in the Assembly of June 15th, 1866. 

t " Either he ought not to have joined the Government, or he ought not to have left it 
at that time. The people sustained him in the first ; they condemned him in the latter. 
The reason he gave no one accepted as the real reason, and his opponents did not hesitate 
to say that he left the Government because he was not permitted to be its master." Orny 
on Confederation, Vol. I., p. 329. 

The Birth of the Dominion. 457 

Mr. Brown announced that he left the Government with no 
unkind feelings towards any member of it; but it was not long 
before he was once more in violent Opposition. He had doubtless 
at first counted upon being able to take his two Reform colleagues 
with him out of the Ministry. It was soon made clear to him 
that he would not be able to do so. Mr. Howland disapproved 
of the course of his leader, and resolved to remain in the Cabinet. 
The leadership of the Reform element therein was offered to him, 
and, after consultation with his friends, accepted. As for Mr. 
McDougall, he was absent from the country on a trade mission at 
the time, but upon his return he announced his approval of Mr. 
Rowland's course, and his own determination to emulate that 
gentleman's example by remaining in the Government The Presi- 
dency of the Council, vacated by Mr. Brown's retirement, was offered 
to and accepted by Mr. Fergusson- Blair, whose constituents showed 
their approval of his acceptance by reelecting him. 

In the beginning of 1866 delegates were sent to Washington, as 
had been agreed upon, to make a final attempt to obtain a renewal 
of the Reciprocity Treaty. Their mission was a total failure, and 
no further attempt in that direction was made until several years 
after the accomplishment of Confederation. For several months 
before the expiration of the treaty in March, the Canadian rail- 
ways and the international ferries were almost monopolized by 
outgoing produce, cattle and horses, which had been purchased by 
Americans in this Province. For all these commodities the Canadian 
sellers obtained good prices, and our country enjoyed certain benefits 
to counterbalance the disadvantages arising from the termination of 
the treaty. Our manufactures were stimulated, an impetus was 
given to our foreign trade, and Confederation itself was to some 
extent promoted. 

Meanwhile the Fenians on the other side of the boundary-line 
continued their preparations, and announced a scries of combined 

458 The Last Forty Years. 

movements upon Canada, to take place on St. Patrick's Day, the 
17th of March. Provision was made for their reception, but the 
appointed time passed by without any attempt on their part. In 
April a Fenian demonstration was made on the frontier of New 
Brunswick, but it was a very insignificant affair, and was abandoned 
almost as soon as entered upon. All through the spring and early 
summer, however, it was evident that a more serious attempt 
would sooner or later be made. Towards the end of May the 
filibusters began to mass their forces at several points, more espe- 
cially at Buffalo, whence they menaced the Niagara frontier. A 
little before midnight of the 31st of the month, about 900 of them, 
under the command of an Irish- American named O'Neil, repaired 
to Black Rock, where boats had been provided to convey them 
across to the Canada shore. Before daylight on the following morn- 
ing they landed without opposition about a mile below the village 
of Fort Erie. Arms were distributed among them, and pickets were 
thrown out in every direction. They advanced upon and took pos- 
session of the village, demanded rations, and vainly invited the 
cooperation of the inhabitants. During the day the 1st of June 
they destroyed a portion of the Grand Trunk Railway track, burned 
a bridge, and cut the telegraph wires. They appropriated all the 
horses and provisions they could lay hands on, but did not other- 
wise maltreat the inhabitants. Early in the forenoon the United 
States gunboat Michigan began to patrol the river, avowedly to pre- 
vent any further breaches of the neutrality laws ; but its commander 
did not attempt to interfere with small boats which crossed and re- 
crossed all day, whereby O'Neil received additional stores and 

The news that a horde of marauders had landed on our soil 
aroused a feeling of burning indignation from one end of the 
Province to the other. All classes of the community shared in the 
feeling, and in the patriotic enthusiasm which accompanied it. Had 

The Birth of the Dominion. 459 

the military experience and capacity of the Canadians been com- 
mensurate with their ardour at this juncture, very few of O'Neills 
myrmidons would ever have found their way back across the 
Niagara river. But no suitable provision had been made by the 
military authorities for such a contingency, anJ it was inevitable 
that there should be a deficiency of proper equipments, as well as a 
want of harmony in the arrangements. The nearest regular troops 
to the point of invasion were stationed at Hamilton and Toronto. 
They were at once despatched to the Niagara peninsula by Major- 
General Napier, Military Commander of the District. The services 
of the volunteers were also called into requisition. Lieutenant- 
Colonel John Stoughton Dennis, Brigade Major, received orders to 
call out six hundred of the Toronto force. Mnjor Gillmor, of the 
Queen's Own, supplied nearly nil the complement demanded, and 
they, with the 13th battalion, of Hamilton (under the command of 
Lieutenant-Colonel Alfred Booker), and other volunteer corps, were 
sent to Port Colborne to protect the Welland Canal. The entire 
expedition was under the direction of Colonel George Peacocke, of 
the IGth Regiment, who accompanied the regulars to Chippewn, 
where he was soon afterwards joined by the Governor-General's 
Body Guard, the 10th Royals, and several small companies of volun- 
teers. It is admitted on all hands that this gentleman was a 
capable and gallant officer, but he suffered from the disadvantage 
of not being familiar with the topography of the frontier, and of 
being unprovided with any map sufficiently minute to be of essen- 
tial service.* 

Having arrived at Chippewa, Colonel Peacocke was not long in 
maturing his plans. He resolved upon effecting a junction of his 
forces with those at Port Colborne, the junction to take place on 

* ' ' For the want uf proper topographical information it seems difficult to find an 
XCUM. It i ai euential to the defence of a frontier ai ammunition is to the discharge of 
a firearm ; and the attainment of it falls as much within a legitimate military expenditure 
as the preliminary drilling of a body of men." dray on Confederation, p. 362. 

400 The Last Forty Years. 

the following morning, at Stevensville, a small village situated a 
few miles northwestwardly from Fort Erie. Captain Akers, of the 
Royal Engineers, was despatched as a messenger to Port Colborne, 
with instructions to the officer in command there to proceed to 
Stevensville, with the greater part of his forces, in time to join the 
regulars between ten and eleven o'clock in the forenoon of the 
following day. As Colonel Peacocke was not well informed as 
to the topography of the neighbourhood, he left the officer in com- 
mand of the volunteers to choose whatever route might seem best. 
Captain Akers reached Port Colborne about two in the morning 
of the 2nd. His message was delivered to Lieutenant-Colonel 
Booker, who, being the senior officer, had assumed the chief com- 
mand there. But certain information which had reached Port Col- 
borne several hours before had filled the volunteer officers with 
military ardour. They had heard that the Fenian force at Fort Erie 
was much smaller than had been supposed. It was said that many 
of the latter had been drinking hard ever since landing in the coun- 
try, and that they were in no condition to resist an attack from sober 
and determined men. After some deliberation, the two volunteer 
officers, in conjunction with Captain Akers, conceived an indepen- 
dent scheme, involving important modifications of that formed 
by Colonel Peacocke. In pursuance of this scheme, Booker, with 
his forces, was to start for Fort Erie by rail, in time to reach his 
destination at eight o'clock next morning. Dennis and Akers, with 
a company of volunteer artillery, were to embark on a steam tug 
at Port Colborne, and proceed round the coast and down the 
Niagara river to reconnoitre, returning to Fort Erie in time to 
cooperate with Booker at eight o'clock. " Should Colonel Pea- 
cocke approve of this," says Captain Akers in his report, "he would 
march by the river road from Chippewa, and make a combined attack 
with Colonel Booker at some point between Fort Erie and Black Creek, 
cutting off the enemy's retreat by the river the tug to be employed 

The Birth of the Dominion. 461 

in cruising up and down the river, cutting off any boats that might 
attempt to escape, and communicating between the forces advancing 
from Chippewa and from Fort Erie." The plan was telegraphed to 
Colonel Peacocke at Chippewa, but Dennis and Akers did not wait 
for his approval.* They started from Port Colborne at four 
in the morning, on the tug Robb, taking with them the Welland 
Garrison Battery and a part of the Dunnville Naval Company. 
Soon after their departure Booker received a telegram from 
Colonel Peacocke expressing disapproval of the proposed modifica- 
tions, and enjoining adherence to the original plan. It was too 
lato to recall Dennis and Akers, but Booker resolved to fulfil his 
instructions as far as possible, and being apparently determined not 
to be too late on the ground, he placed his men on board the train 
and started from Port Colborne about five in the morning. He 
proceeded by rail as far as Ridgeway, where he left the train, with 
his forces, and proceeded on foot in the direction of Stevensville. 
Meanwhile, O'Neil had moved his forces westward, his object doubt- 
less being the destruction of the locks on the Welland Canal His 
movements were neither known to nor suspected by Colonel Booker, 
who, greatly to his astonishment, encountered the enemy's outposts 
about two miles from Ridgeway. After a hurried consultation with 
Major Gilhnor, who was in command of the Queen's Own, it was 
resolved to assume the offensive, more especially as it was believed 
that Colonel Peacocke must be very near. The volunteers advanced 
promptly at the word of command, and so valiantly did they 

" The only way in which their conduct can be accounted for It, that they were 10 
confident that Colonel Peacocke would at once fall In with their plan of operation in lien 
of his own, that they never, for one moment, calculated that hii answer would be in the 
negative." TV Fenian Raid at Fort Erie, etc., by Major (now Lieut.-Col.) George T. 
1 >. ni"n. Jr. Toronto, 1866. This little work contain! what i beyond comparison the 
best published account of the affair from a purely military point of view. The more 
comprehensive account by Mr. Alexander Somerville, published at Hamilton in 1866, 
also contains a great mass of valuable details, as well as some scathing criticism on the 
defective equipments for the campaign. The writer of these pages cheerfully acknow- 
ledges his obligations to both the above-mentioned narrative*. 

462 The Last Forty Years. 

demean themselves that they actually succeeded in driving back 
the enemy's advanced line for some distance. Considering that this 
was effected by raw levies, for the most part made up of young 
collegians and clerks, it was a gallant achievement, and for a time 
it seemed as though the volunteers would sweep all before them. 
But, while all was going thus favourably, a telegram from Colonel 
Peacocke was placed in Booker's hands. It had been forwarded 
from Port Colborne by a special messenger, and its contents were 
not of a nature to cheer the officer to whom it was addressed. It in- 
structed him to delay his departure from Port Colborne for two 
hours, as the regulars could not start from Chippewa so early as 
had been expected. This message, of course, had been intended to 
reach Colonel Booker before his departure from Port Colborne. 
Instead of delaying his departure two hours, he had actually 
started earlier than had been specified, thereby disturbing Colonel 
Peacocke's calculations by at least three hours. Booker doubtless 
took in the situation, and perceived that no present assistance was 
to be looked for from the regulars. Just then an alarm was heard 
to the effect that cavalry were approaching, and he ordered Major 
Gillmor to form his battalion into a square. This would have 
been the proper course had the report as to the approach of 
cavalry been well founded. But as matter of fact there were 
no cavalry, and the formation of a square made a conspicuous 
target for the Fenians. The latter were quick to seize the advan- 
tage, and their bullets whistled fast and thick among the ranks of the 
devoted Canadian volunteers. It soon became evident that there 
had been a false alarm, and Major Gillmor endeavoured to ex- 
tend his regiment, which he partially succeeded in effecting, but the 
rear portion, galled by the hot fire of the enemy, gradually fell back, 
and could not be re-formed. The order was then given to retire. Yet 
a few moments, and the volunteers were in full retreat, which was 
continued all the way to Port Colborne. The Fenians followed 

The Birth of Vie Dominion. 463 

for a short distance only. Our loss was one officer and eight men 
killed, and six officers and twenty-five men wounded. The Fenian 
loss has never been ascertained, but it could scarcely have been 
less than our own. 

O'Neil did not think proper to pursue the temporary advantage 
he had gained. Hearing that Colonel Peacocke and a body of 
regular troops were advancing against him, he fell back on Fort 
Erie. Colonel Dennis and Captain Akers, with the artillerymen, had 
meanwhile landed there and picked up about sixty stragglers, some 
of whom were Fenians and others mere camp-followers. O'Neil 
soon recaptured the village, but did not succeed in setting free the 
prisoners, who had been secured on board the tug. During the 
ensuing night he and his forces, dreading the expected arrival 
of the regulars, made the best of their way back across the river, 
but before they could disembark they were arrested by the 
United States authorities, and prevented from indulging in any 
further demonstrations for the time. On Sunday morning Colonel 
Peacocke and his forces reached Fort Erie, too late to infiict pun- 
ishment upon the main body of Fenians, but in time to capture a 
few stragglers in the neighbourhood. These, together with the 
prisoners on board the tug, were sent to Toronto and lodged in gaol. 
During the following autumn and winter they were tried under an 
old statute passed at the time of the Canadian Rebellion, whereby 
subjects of a foreign state entering this country for the purpose of 
levying war were rendered liable to the penalties imposed by the 
Act. Many of the prisoners were discharged for want of evidence. 
Others were convicted and sentenced to death, but the sentences 
were afterwards commuted to imprisonment in the Provincial 
Penitentiary, and not one of them suffered the extreme penalty of 
the law. 

Such, in brief, is the history of the Fenian raid upon the Niagara 
frontier in June, lt>66. There were other demonstrations of a 

464 The Last Forty Tears. 


similar character in the course of the month, and each had a some- 
what similar ending. A horde collected at Ogdensburg, professedly 
for the object of crossing over to Prescott, and thence to Ottawa, 
the Provincial capital. The massing of a number of troops on the 
Canada side, however, and the patrolling of a British gunboat in the St. 
Lawrence, put an end to the operations of the Fenians in that neigh- 
bourhood. The latter subsequently gathered in considerable force 
opposite Cornwall, but the concentration of a strong body of volun- 
teers there caused them to abandon their designs in that quarter also. 
About 1,800 of them then collected at St. Albans, Vermont, whence, 
on the 7th of June, they passed over into Canada ; but the advance 
of troops against them sent them flying back across the border, 
where a number of their leaders were arrested by American officials 
for breach of the neutrality laws. The United States authorities, 
impressed by the urgent representations of the British Minister at 
Washington, had by this time become alive to the necessity of doing 
their duty. The President issued a proclamation requiring all 
officers of his Government to exert every effort for the repression of 
further attacks on Canada. General Meade was despatched to the 
frontier, where he took possession of all the Fenian arms and muni- 
tions of war that he could find, arrested the ringleaders, and sent 
the rank and file to their homes in New York city and elsewhere. 
Quietness was soon restored all along the frontier. The expense to 
the Province of the several operations of these marauders was 
heavy, but the mere pecuniary loss was felt to be a very small 
affair as compared with the loss of a number of precious lives. 
Canada testified her sorrow by raising an imposing monument in 
the Queen's Park, Toronto, to the memory of those who fell in her 
defence, and by awarding pensions for the support of the widows 
and orphans who mourned their loss. 

On the 8th of June, while our country was yet disturbed by the 
excitement incidental to this series of petty invasions, the last session 

The Birth of the Dominion. 405 

of the Provincial Parliament met at Ottawa. The opening Speech 
announced his Excellency's expectation that the measure of Con- 
federation would shortly be carried into effect, and that the next 
assembling of Parliament would be participated in not only by 
representatives of Canada, but by those of all the colonies of 
British North America. Two Acts were hurried through both 
Houses in time to admit of his Excellency's assenting to them before 
his withdrawal after the delivery of the Speech from the Throne. 
One of these suspended the Habeas Corpus Act for a year, and 
the other provided for the protection of Lower Canada against 
further unlawful foreign invasion. The session lasted till the 
15th of August. A series of resolutions was passed defining the 
constitutions of Upper and Lower Canada, under the proposed 
measure of Confederation. These resolutions were subsequently 
embodied in the Imperial Act, which will presently be considered. 
The session was also marked by a good deal of important legis- 
lation. Prominent among the Acts passed was one making vari- 
ous changes in the Provincial tariff. The articles which, under 
the Act of 1859, were liable to a duty of twenty per cent, were 
now made liable to a duty of fifteen per cent, only ; and a num- 
ber of commodities which up to this time paid twenty-five per 
cent. including boots and shoes, harness, saddlery and ready-made 
clothing were also placed at the low rate of fifteen per cent. With 
a view to the encouragement of domestic productions, many articles 
used for manufacturing purposes were placed on the free list, and 
the deficiency thereby created was made up by an increased impost 
on whisky. A Code of Civil Procedure for Lower Canada, which 
had been prepared with much care and labour by commissioners 
appointed for the purpose, was also adopted by the Legislature. A 
few days before the close of the session Mr. Gait resigned his place 
as Minister of Finance, together with his seat in the Cabinet, in 
consequence of certain complications arising out of a Bill introduced 
by Mr. Langevin respecting education in Lower Canada. The ex- 

466 The Last Forty Years. 

Minister announced, however, that he was still prepared to support 
the general policy of the Administration. The portfolio of Minister 
of Finance was soon afterwards accepted by Mr. Rowland, who was 
succeeded as Postmaster-General by Mr. Langevin. The office of 
Solicitor-General vacated by the gentleman last-named was for some 
months thereafter allowed to remain unfilled. 

The Confederation project had meanwhile been considerably ad- 
vanced in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. In the former there 
had been another appeal to the people, and the advocates of Con- 
federation had won the day. In Nova Scotia the scheme had 
encountered serious opposition, but had finally been carried by a 
considerable majority in the Local Legislature. Prince Edward 
Island still continued hostile, and Newfoundland listless. Canada, 
Nova Scotia and New Brunswick accordingly determined to proceed 
with the scheme on their own account, leaving the two Island Prov- 
inces to follow at their leisure. In November (1866) a Canadian 
deputation, consisting of Messieurs (J. A.) Macdonald, Cartier, Gait, 
Howland, McDougall and Langevin, repaired to England, whither 
they had been preceded by representatives from each of the 
other two Provinces interested. The Nova Scotia delegates were 
Messieurs Tupper, Henry, Archibald, McCully, and the present 
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Dominion, Sir William 
Johnston Ritchie, who was then Solicitor-General of the Province. 
The New Brunswick representatives were Messieurs Tilley, Fisher, 
Mitchell, Johnston and Robert Duncan Wilmot, the last-named gen- 
tleman being the present Lieutenant-Governor. All the delegates 
assembled at the Westminster Palace Hotel on the 4th of December, 
when Mr. Macdonald was elected chairman, and the Conference was 
duly organized. Lord Monck reached London from Canada during 
the month, and lent his assistance to the delegates, as well as to the 
Imperial Government.* The Conference sat until the 24th of 

* DurinK U absence from Canada Sir John Michel again took the direction of public 
affairs in this country. 

The Birth of the Dominion. 467 

December, by which time all the important details had been 
discussed and finally adjusted. Certain concessions were made 
to the Maritime Provinces, and various modifications were made 
in the resolutions passed by the Quebec Conference in 1864, but 
the project remained in all essential respects unchanged. In con- 
junction with the Imperial law officers, the Conference then pre- 
pared certain draft Bills, which were subsequently amalgamated 
into a harmonious whole, and submitted by the Imperial Gov- 
ernment to Parliament, which met on the 5th of February, 1867. 
On the 29th of March following, the amalgamated Bill, having 
passed through all its stages in both Houses, received the royal 
assent A fortnight later on the 12th of April another Imperial 
Act was passed authorizing the Commissioners of the Treasury to 
guarantee interest on a loan not exceeding 3,000,000 sterling, for 
the construction of an intercolonial railway between Halifax and the 
St. Lawrence. This project, which had been so many years under 
discussion, had at last become a political necessity, and could no 
longer be postponed. The colonial delegates, having accomplished 
the objects of their mission, returned to their homes. Her Majesty 
was empowered to give effect by proclamation to the Confederation 
Act technically known as " the British North America Act, 1867 " 
and in accordance with this provision a royal proclamation was 
issued at Windsor Castle on the 22nd of May, appointing the first of 
July following as the date upon which it should come into force. 
The Act provided that the three Provinces theretofore known as 
Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, should form and be ONE 
DOMINION, under the name of CANADA. The Dominion was divided 
into four Provinces, named Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New 
Brunswick; the boundaries of Ontario and Quebec corresponding 
with those of the old Provinces of Upper and Lower Canada, and 
the boundaries of Nova Scotia and New Bruaswick remaining 
unchanged. The executive authority and the command of all 

468 The Last Forty Years. 

naval and military forces were continued and vested in the Queen 
and her successors, represented by the Governor-General or other 
chief executive officer or administrator for the time being. Pro- 
vision was made for the constitution of a Council, to be styled the 
Queen's Privy Council for Canada, to aid and advise in carrying on 
the Government. The members were to be chosen by the Governor- 
General, and to be removable at his pleasure. Ottawa was declared 
to be the Seat of Government until the Queen should otherwise 
direct. The legislative power was vested in a Parliament, con- 
sisting of the Queen, an Upper House called the Senate, and a 
House of Commons. It was declared that there should be a session 
of Parliament once at least in every year, so that twelve months 
should not elapse between session and session. The elective system 
introduced by the Act of 1856 with respect to members of tho 
Upper House was abandoned, and it was provided that the Senate, 
to consist of 72 life members 24 for Ontario, 24 for Quebec, and 
12 for each of the two Maritime Provinces should be appointed 
by the Crown. Provision was made for increasing the member- 
ship, but the number was at no time to exceed 78.* With 
respect to the House of Commons, the principle of Representation 
by Population was adopted. The basis chosen for the original 
adjustment was the census of 1861; but it was provided that there 
should be a readjustment in 1871 and every ten years thereafter, 
upon the taking of the periodical census.^ The representation of 
the Province of Quebec was permanently fixed at 65 members, and 
that of each of the other Provinces was to bear the same relation to 
the population thereof that 65 should from time to time bear to the 

*But by the final clause of the Act it was provided that the number might be extended 
to 82 in case of the admission of Newfoundland. The contingency has not arisen, but the 
increase to 78 has taken place in consequence of the admission of Prince Edward Island, 
Manitoba and British Columbia 

t Under this provision there have been two readjustments consequent upon the censuses 
of 1871 and 1881. See Dominion Statute 36 Vic. (1872) c. 13 ; also the Act of last session 
45 Vic. (1882) c. 3. 

Birth of the Dominion. 469 

population of Quebec. The entire representation was for the time 
placed at 181, made up of 82 members for Ontario, 65 for Quebec, 
19 for Nova Scotia, and 15 for New Brunswick. Provision was 
made for increased representation, but the proportion fixed by the 
Act was not to be disturbed. The duration of a House of Com- 
mons was not to exceed five years. Except as otherwise provided, 
all existing laws and regulations, judicial, Parliamentary and statu- 
tory, were continued. 

Constitutions were also provided for the four Provinces included 
in the Dominion. A Lieutenant-Governor, with a salary fixed 
and provided by the Federal Parliament, was assigned to each 
Province. A local Legislature, the composition whereof was adjusted 
to the preferences of the inhabitants, was also assigned to each. 
Thus, the Legislature of Ontario was made to consist of the 
Lieutenant-Governor and a single Chamber, called the Legislative 
Assembly. Two chambers, consisting of a Council and Assembly, 
were assigned to each of the other Provinces. The jurisdiction of 
the local Legislatures was restricted to internal affairs, whereas that 
of the Federal Parliament was extended to matters affecting the 
Dominion at large. Provision was made by the Act for the 
admission of the other British North American Provinces into the 
Confederation, in case such admission should be sought on the one 
hand and approved of on the other. It was moreover declared to 
be the duty of the Government and Parliament of Canada to 
promptly begin and proceed with the construction of the Intercolonial 
Railway. Such are the most important provisions of the British 
North America Act. 

The royal proclamation of May 22nd announced the names 
of the 72 Senators whose appointment had been provided for, 
and who consisted of 3G Conservatives and 36 Reformers. The 
birthday of the Dominion was looked forward to with some ex- 
pectation, and upon its arrival it was celebrated as a holiday 
throughout the land. On the same day Lord Monck issued a 

470 27<e Last Forty Years. 

proclamation announcing his appointment as Governor-General of 
the new Dominion. It was deemed fitting that the Governor under 
whose regime Confederation had been brought about should enjoy 
whatever honour pertained to inaugurating the new system. His 
Excellency in like manner considered that Mr. Macdonald was 
entitled to the honour of forming the first Administration of the 
Dominion, and he accordingly committed the task to his hands. 
Mr. Macdonald, recognizing the necessity of a strong Government, 
resolved to form a coalition, and to bring together, irrespective of 
party considerations, those gentlemen who represented majorities 
in the respective Provinces to which they belonged. " I do not want 
it to be felt by any section in the country," said he, "that they have 
no representative in the Cabinet, and no influence in the Govern- 
ment. And as there are now no issues to divide parties, and as all 
that is required is to have in the Government the men who are 
best adapted to put the new machinery in motion, I desire to ask 
those to join me who have the confidence and represent the 
majorities in the various sections, of those who were in favour of 
the adoption of this system of government, and who wish to see it 
satisfactorily carried out." As matter of fact the membership of 
the new Government had been arranged some time before, and the 
names unofficially announced to the country. They were now 
announced officially, as follows. It will be seen that the number 
of portfolios had been slightly increased, and that the nomenclature 
of some of the Departments had undergone a change. 

The Hon. J. A. Macdonald, Premier and Minister of Justice. 

" " Alexander Campbell, Postmaster-General. 

" " A. J. Fergusson-Blair, President of the Privy Council. 

" " W. P. Howland, Minister of Inland Revenue. 

" " William McDougall, Minister of Public Works. 

" " G. E. Cartier, Minister of Militia and Defence. 

" A. T. Gait, Minister of Finance. 

The Birth of Hie Dominion. 471 

The Hon. J. C. Chapais, Minister of Agriculture. 
" " H. L. Langevin, Secretary of State of Canada. 
" " S. L. Tilley, Minister of Customs. 
" " Peter Mitchell, Minister of Marine and Fisheries. 
" " A. Q. Archibald, Secretary of State for the Provinces. 
" " Edward Kenny, Receiver-General. 

Of the gentlemen composing this Administration, the first five 
represented Ontario, the next four represented Quebec, the next two 
New Brunswick, and the last two Nova Scotia. The Conservative 
element was represented by Messieurs Macdonald, Campbell, Cartier, 
Gait, Chapais and Langevin. The other members were all profess- 
edly Reformers except Mr. Kenny, who had some time before passed 
from the Reform to the Conservative ranks. Five of the thirteen 
Messieurs Campbell, Fergusson-Blair, Chapais, Mitchell and Kenny 
were on the list of newly -appointed Senators. Of these five, two 
were from Ontario, and each of the other Provinces was represented 
by one. 

Lord Mouck, having been sworn into office by Chief Justice 
Draper, in the Chamber of the Executive Council, at Ottawa, 
announced that Her Majesty had instructed him, through the 
Colonial Secretary, to confer the title of Knight Commander of 
the Bath on the Hon. John A. Macdonald, and the title of Com- 
panion of the Bath on Messieurs Cartier, Gait, McDougall, How- 
land, Tilley and Tupper, for their distinguished services in bring- 
ing about Confederation. Mr. Cartier and Mr. Gait declined the 
proffered honour, and this unequal distribution of imperial digni- 
ties led to the first and only serious rupture that ever took place 
between Messieurs Macdonald and Cartier. The latter considered 
himself slighted in not receiving honours of equal dignity with 
those conferred upon Mr. Macdonald. He attributed the slight to 
the advice of his quondam fidus Achates, and he felt that he had 
deserved better things at the hands of one who had for years carried 

472 The Last Forty Years. 

on the Government of Canada by means of majorities obtained 
through his, Mr. Cartier's, instrumentality. Mr. henceforward Sir 
John Macdonald set himself to repair the diplomatic blunder that 
had been committed. A year later Mr. Cartier was created a baronet 
of the United Kingdom a higher dignity than had been conferred 
on Sir John. This did something to mollify the recipient, who 
however felt as though reparation had only been made under 
pressure, and was not disposed to value his newly-acquired dignity 
so highly as if it had been spontaneously conferred. In a word, 
the golden bowl had been shivered, and the relations between 
him and Sir John were never again of that truly cordial nature 
which had subsisted between them in the old days which, in more 
senses than one, had forever passed away. 

With the swearing-in of the new Ministry the old one of course 
came to an end. Confederation having been fully accomplished, 
the conditions of the compact entered into between the rival 
political parties in 1864 were fulfilled, and the compact itself 
was ended. Another event that marked the birthday of the Do- 
minion was the appointment by the Federal Government of the 
first Lieutenant-Governors of the four Provinces. The appointment 
for Quebec was conferred upon Sir N. F. Belleau. In the other three 
Provinces the senior military officers were temporarily appointed to 
act. Major-General Henry William Stisted thus became first Lieu- 
tenant-Governor of Ontario, Lieutenant-General Sir W. F. Williams 
of Nova Scotia, and Major-General Charles Hastings Doyle of "New 


" We know that political parties have their beginning and their end. Bbel an built, 
and confiition of tongue* ensues. But when ducuuion ii pushed to the extreme, and 
enthusiast* and demagogues have gone mad, the turning-point is reached, and an union 
of thoM who have their senses left mark* the beginning of a new era. When the time 
doe* come for a renewal of strife, we spin around in accordance with the immutable law* 
by which the political world is regulated, and we cannot, if we would, avoid the scram- 
bling, jostling, quarrelling and fighting incident to the enjoyment of free institution* in a 
free country." Canada firit; or, Our Nev Nationality, by W. A. Foster. 

OR some time before the actual coming into existence of 
the Dominion, it had become apparent that a considerable 
part of the population was not prepared to receive the 
new order of things with enthusiasm. In the Maritime 
Provinces the mercurial state of public opinion was proved 
by the fact that a strong anti-Union feeling was again pre- 
valent among the people. To such a length was this feeling carried 
that many persons came out boldly in favour of annexation to the 
United States. In Lower Canada the Rouge party, to a man, were 
opposed to Confederation, and among them also there was a strong 
predilection for annexation. In Ontario public opinion was almost 
unanimous in favour of Confederation, and no appreciable part of 
the community had any leanings towards the United States, but many 
Reformers, following the lead of The Globe, came out strongly against 
the coalition. As has been seen, the membership of the proposed new 
Government had become generally known, and among the names were 
those of William Pearce Rowland and William McDougall. The 

acceptance of office by those gentlemen was denounced by The Globe 

474 The Last Forty Years. 

as an act of political treason. The great influence of that journal 
and its editor naturally won considerable support for its opinions, 
and the Reform party were greatly agitated on the subject of the 
alleged defection of two of their most prominent members.* On the 
27th and 28th of June a general convention of the Reform party 
met at Toronto, and passed a number of important resolutions, 
one of which was strongly denunciatory of the proposed coalition. 
Messieurs McDougall and Howland, being opportunely in Toronto, 
were specially invited to attend. They accordingly presented 
themselves before the convention, and explained their reasons 
for joining the Government. Mr. Howland's plea was that a new 
era was about to be inaugurated; that new and great interests 
had arisen which were entitled to consideration, and that the old 
party lines of the past were on the point of being swept away. The 
address of Mr. McDougall embodied an eloquent and powerful de- 
fence of the coalition, and produced a visible effect upon the conven- 
tion; but Mr. Brown's influence was paramount, and carried all 
before it. The two coalitionists were practically " read out of the 
Reform party," so far as the convention was concerned. Mr. Mc- 
Dougall has never since been regarded as belonging to it. As for 
Mr. (now Sir William) Howland, he has for several years past been 
once more identified Avith the party under the auspices of which he 
first entered political life. 

The general elections for the House of Commons came off in the 

* The question here presents itself : Why did not Mr. Fergusson-Blair encounter his 
share of obloquy from The Globe and those members of the Reform party who echoed it* 
opinions? That gentleman was an old and prominent member of the party, and he had, 
equally with Messieurs McDougall and Howland, been enrolled in the ranks of the 
coalition. The answer is twofold. Mr. Fergusson-Blair was an elderly man, in feeble 
health, who had ceased to take any important part in public affairs. His political influ- 
ence was practically at an end. He was regarded as one whose day was past, and whom 
it was not worth while to attack. The other reason is doubtless to be found in the fact 
that he was not, like Mr. McDougall and Mr. Howlaud, an active party to the conditions 
of the compact entered into in 18o4. 

The Beginning of a New Era. 475 

summer and early autumn. In spite of the utmost exertions of the 
anti-coalitionists, the people of Ontario and Quebec returned an 
overwhelming majority of supporters of the Government There 
was a widespread feeling, even among those who disapproved of 
coalitions in general, that the new Government should have a fair 
trial. Mr. Brown himself sustained defeat in South Ontario, and did 
not attempt to obtain a seat elsewhere. This defeat was disastrous to 
the Opposition, who were much depressed by the circumstance, and 
the Government thereby gained material support in several doubtful 
constituencies. In the Province of Quebec only twelve anti-coali- 
tionists secured election. The Government, however, sustained a 
check in that Province in the case of Mr. Chapais, Minister of Agri- 
culture, who contested the constituency of Kamouraska with Mr. 
Charles Alphonse Pautaleon Pelletier, an uncompromising opponent 
of the coalition. Mr. Pelletier secured a considerable majority of 
votes over his opponent, but owing to irregularities in the proceedings 
a special return was made which had the practical effect of disfran- 
chising the constituency for several months. Still, this quasi-defeat 
was not a matter of much moment to the Government, as Mr. 
Chapais retained his portfolio, and in the following January was 
called to the Senate. In New Brunswick, notwithstanding the 
strong expressions of disfavour to the Union which had been ex- 
pressed during the few preceding months, the Government party 
carried twelve seats out of fifteen. In Nova Scotia alone was the 
result strongly antagonistic. The inhabitants of that Province had 
from the first been hostile to the Union, and their predilections had 
been worked upon to the fullest extent. The Hon. Joseph Howe, 
who had for more than a quarter of a century been one of the most 
influential men in the Province, anil who was unquestionably the 
first natural orator that British America has ever produced, had 
thought proper to take a stand hostile to Confederation.* His 

For the probable reasons which actuated Mr. Hove in his opposition, see Tkt Cana- 
dian Portrait Oallcry, Vol. II., !. 12S. 

476 The Last Forty Years. 

example was vehemently enforced by his precept. To his influence 
the result of the general elections in Nova Scotia must doubtless 
be in great measure attributed. Of the nineteen members returned, 
one only Dr. Tupper was a supporter of the Administration. 
Nearly all the leading members of the anti-Union party were 
returned ; whereas Mr. Archibald, Secretary of State for the Prov- 
inces, was defeated, and compelled to resign his seat in the Cabinet. 
Except in the cases of Mr. Archibald and Mr. Chapais, however, all 
the Ministers were returned, and when the total result became 
known it was found that the Government could command nearly 
three-fourths of the entire vote in the House of Commons. 

The elections for the local Legislatures in the different Provinces 
resulted similarly to those for the House of Commons. In the 
Maritime Provinces public opinion was very largely moulded by 
individuals. The people of New Brunswick were soon brought to 
look upon the new order of things with complacency, whereas in 
Nova Scotia all but two of the thirty-eight members returned 
to the local Assembly were anti-Unionists. The diatribes of 
Mr. Howe, Mr. Annand and others roused a feeling of opposition 
to Confederation which can hardly be said, even at the present 
time, to have wholly passed away. In Quebec the first Govern- 
ment was formed under the auspices of the Hon. P. J. 0. Chau- 
veau, who remained at its head until 1873. In Ontario the 
formation of the first Government was entrusted to the Hon. John 
Sandtield Macdonald. That gentleman had long been diverging 
farther and farther from the Reform party, or rather from that 
portion of it which acknowledged allegiance to Mr. Brown. He 
regarded the disorganization of the party as being wholly due to Mr. 
Brown's ascendency, and to this impression his subsequent course is 
largely attributable. He had vehemently opposed the scheme of 
Confederation until it had been finally matured, but, being to a large 
extent a man of expediency, he had given in his adhesion when all 

The Beginning of a New Era. 477 

the work had been done, and when further opposition could serve 
no purpose. He then began to cooperate with Sir John A. Mac- 
tlonald, and no one was surprised when it became known that he 
had been entrusted with the formation of the Ontario Government. 
He succeeded in forming a strong coalition Ministry, which inaugu- 
rated a rigid system of economy, and remained in power for more 
than four years. 

Two events which occurred during the short interval that elapsed 
between the elections and the meeting of the first session of the 
First Dominion Parliament are deserving of mention. On the 4th 
of November Mr. Gait resigned his portfolio of Minister of Finance, 
together with his seat in the Ministry. The reasons alleged by 
him for his resignation were: first, the necessity of attending to 
his private affairs ; and, second, a series of attacks made upon his 
fiscal policy. It was alleged by the Opposition press that the 
effect of the Currency Act, which had been introduced and passed 
under his auspices during the last session of the old Parliament of 
Canada, had been to unduly favour the Bank of Montreal at the 
expense of other banks throughout the country. The failure of the 
Commercial Bank, which had just occurred, was said to be largely 
due to this cause, and there can be no doubt that the charge 
was well founded. Mr. Gait felt the aspersions upon him, and it is 
not improbable that they may have had something to do with his 
resignation, but there seems good reason for believing that the har- 
mony between him and other members of the Government had been 
to some extent interrupted. The other circumstance referred to as 
worthy of note was the appointment of the Hon. J. E. Cauchon as 
Speaker of the Senate. As has been seen, Mr. Cauchon had rendered 
essential service to the cause of Confederation in his native Province, 
and had fully earned the goodwill of the Administration, but the 
appointment was not received with much enthusiasm, as the re- 
cipient's aggressive character had raised up for him many enemies, 

478 The Last Forty Years. 

and it was moreover felt that some of the older members of the 
Senate had a prior claim. Mr. Cauchon's discharge of the duties 
pertaining to his office, however, are on all hands admitted to have 
been eminently dignified, and in every sense creditable to him. 

The issues of the past having been wiped out, the new Govern- 
ment began its reign, as it was said, " with a clean slate." There 
were no strictly party questions to be discussed, and though it was 
inevitable that a legitimate Opposition must sooner or later arise, 
there was for the time nothing to interfere with the seasonable 
reduction to practice of the new constitution. The construction of 
the Intercolonial Railway, the extension of the Union to the North- 
West Territories and to all the other British North American colonies, 
were matters as to which there was little divergence of opinion. The 
one serious difficulty that presented itself was the hostile attitude 
of Nova Scotia. Such was the aspect of affairs when Parliament 
met at Ottawa on the 7th of November. 

The personnel of this First Parliament under Confederation affords 
ample materials for an interesting series of pen-and-ink sketches of 
distinguished public men. The space within which the presen 
work must be restricted unfortunately prevents this from beinj 
done with any approach to completeness, or even to comprehensive 
ness of detail. The members from the Maritime Provinces were 
of course all new to Canadian public life, and there was a large 
infusion of new blood from the old Provinces of Canada. A few old 
acquaintances Mr. Brown among the number were conspicuous 
by reason of their absence ; but, in addition to the gentlemen com- 
posing the Ministry, Messieurs A. A. Dorion, L. H. Holton, J. S. 
Macdonald,* Alexander Mackenzie, P. J. O. Chauveau,* H. G. 

* Dual representation was then permitted, and the fact that these gentlemen were at 
the head of their respective Provincial Governments, and had seats in their respective 
Provincial Legislatures, did not disqualify them from sitting in the House of Commons. 
Many conspicuous persons in Ontario and Quebec held seats in both the Dominion and 
Provincial Parliaments. In Nova Scotia and New Brunswick dual representation was 
prohibited by local legislation. 


The Beginning of a New Era. 470 

Joly, L. S. Huntington. John Catling, John Rose, J. G. Blanchet, 
Alexander Morris, and J. J. C. Abbott still swelled the Parlia- 
mentary ranks. Conspicuous among the representatives from 
the Maritime Provinces were Joseph Howe, a statesman of pro- 
found and capacious intellect, who, under favourable auspices, 
might have taken rank among the foremost orators of his time ; 
Dr. Tupper, Mr. Howe's most redoubtable opponent in Nova 
Scotia, a man of vigorous understanding, who, without being a 
great orator, is an apt, a voluble, and withal an earnest and 
effective speaker both in and out of Parliament; Albert James 
Smith, an able lawyer of New Brunswick, who had recently 
declined the post of Chief Justice of that Province ; Charles Fisher, 
who had for many years fought side by side with Lemuel Allan 
Wilmot in the struggle for Responsible Government in New 
Brunswick ; and Timothy Warren Anglin, at that time known only 
as one of the foremost journalists in the Maritime Provinces, but 
since recognized as an exceedingly powerful debater, possessing a. 
comprehensive knowledge of Canadian affairs. Ontario and Quebec 
also returned several new members of exceptional ability, by far the 
most noteworthy of whom was Edward Blake, the eldest son of the 
ilistinguished man who has already figured prominently in this 
narrative.* Up to a short time prior to Confederation, Mr. Blake 
had taken no part in public affairs. He was the acknowledged head 
of the Equity bar in Upper Canada, and his attention had been 
entirely bestowed upon his profession. He was induced to embark 
in political life in consequence of urgent overtures from the leaders 
of the Reform party, which was much disorganized, and in need of 
capable men to direct its policy. Having responded favourably to 
these overtures, he was at the general elections of 1867 returned to 
both Legislatures, West Durham electing him to the House of Com- 
mons and South Bruce to the Ontario Assembly. His attendance 

Ante, pp. 107-110, 141, 142, 15M53, 161, 162, etc. 

480 The Last Forty Years. 

in the House of Commons was for some time not very assiduous, 
his chosen work lying chiefly in the local Legislature; but the 
significance of his entry into political life was recognized through- 
out the Dominion, and the party to which he belonged more 
especially the younger and more enthusiastic portion of it antici- 
pated great things therefrom. If an unprejudiced mind cannot declare 
that all the sanguine predictions of 1867 have been fulfilled, it is at 
all events certain that Mr. Blake's presence in public life has had 
the effect of broadening and elevating the Canadian politics of his 
time. As a constitutional lawyer he probably has no rival among 
his contemporaries. His profound legal knowledge and acumen, 
his large mental grasp and power of expression, his rigid integrity 
and purity of purpose, his aspirations towards a higher and better 
morality than is currently supposed to prevail in the conduct of 
public affairs, are doubted neither by friends nor foes. His defects 
as a public man are easily pointed out. Among them may be 
enumerated a hyper-sensitiveness which renders him peculiarly 
susceptible to the petty irritations that necessarily beset the leader 
of a somewhat divided and incongruous political party. He is 
moreover imbued with a degree of caution almost amounting to 
timidity in dealing with questions upon which public opinion has 
not been clearly pronounced ; and his demeanour is marked by 
a want of that savoir faire which is absolutely essential to the 
achievement of wide personal popularity. A less sincere and earnest 
man, possessing greater power of tact and conciliation, would un- 
questionably have a more united following than Mr. Blake can rally 
to his side. But examples are not wanting where earnestness and 
sincerity in politics have gone hand and hand not only with lofty 
statesmanship and great powers of mind, but with a warm-hearted 
geniality which attracts to its side instead of chilling into antipathy 
or indifference. There are scores of earnest and able young men in 
Canada who would willingly range themselves under Mr. Blake's 
leadership, were it not that they are repelled by a manner as devoid 



The Beginning of a New Era. 481 

of warmth as is a flake of December snow, and as devoid of magnet- 
ism as is a loaf of unleavened bread. 

Immediately upon the assembling of Parliament the Hon. James 
Cock burn was elected by acclamation to the Speakership of the House 
of Commons, and on the following day the 8th the session was 
formally opened by the Governor-General. The Speech congratu- 
lated the Houses on the accomplishment of Confederation, and 
foreshadowed many important legislative measures which were to 
be introduced during the session. The Address in Reply gave rise 
to a discussion in the Commons which lasted several days, in the 
course of which Mr. Howe gave utterance to the grounds of Nova 
Scotia's dissatisfaction with Confederation. A speech by Mr. Howe 
on an important public question was certain to be eloquent and 
forcible, but it is doubtful whether he on this occasion spoke from 
mature conviction, and he certainly did not appear at his best. He 
was replied to by Dr. Tupper, who pointed out various inconsistencies 
in the stand taken by the anti-Unionists of Nova Scotia, and denied 
that the issue of Confederation had been fairly put before the people 
of that Province. The Address was finally carried without a 
division, and the attention of members was thenceforward directed 
to the legislation of the session, which included a number of statutes 
of great practical utility. Prominent among them was a measure 
which established reduced rates of postage and inaugurated the 
Post Office Savings Bank system in Canada. An endeavour to place 
the telegraph system of the Dominion under the control of the Gov- 
ernment, as had previously been done in Great Britain, was not 
successful, it being considered that the existing system was adequate 
to the public needs. An Act to provide for the construction of the 
Intercolonial Railway was among the most important measures of 
the session, the route being left to be settled by the Imperial 
authorities, in accordance with the terms upon which the guarantee 
of three millions had been granted." An amendment moved by Mr. 

.1 >.", p. 467. 

482 The Last Forty Years. 

Dorion to the effect that the route should not be determined on 
without the consent of Parliament was defeated by 83 to 35, which 
vote was a conclusive proof of the power of the Government. That 
power there was no apparent intention of abusing. The public 
business was carried on with judgment, and the discussions were 
conducted with moderation. The Opposition, though not fully 
organized, had begun to assimilate their materials. In their ranks 
were many able men who went far to supply the place of num- 
bers; but there were no barbarous onslaughts, nor any displays 
of factious bitterness. It may be said, in a word, that the tone 
of Parliament had perceptibly improved. Even the discontented 
members from Nova Scotia treated questions, as they arose, on 
their merits, and showed no disposition to monopolize the debates 
by long discourses on the injustice to which their Province had, as 
they believed, been subjected. The old obstructive policy was for 
the time numbered among the things of the past, and Parliament 
seemed to be actuated by an honest desire to test the working 
qualities of our new constitution. 

The portfolio of Minister of Finance, which had recently been 
vacated by Mr. Gait, was accepted by the Hon. John Rose during 
the month of November, while Parliament was in session. Mr. Rose 
was reflected by acclamation for his constituency of Huntingdon. 
He devoted himself assiduously to the duties of his department, 
which had become more complicated and onerous in consequence of 
the admission of the two Maritime Provinces. On the 4th of De- 
cember a series of resolutions, based on the 146th section of the 
Confederation Act, were introduced in the House of Commons by 
Mr. McDougall, with a view to bringing Rupert's Land and the 
North- West Territory under the control of the Dominion Govern- 
ment. A week later these resolutions were adopted, and in duo 
course an address embodying them was forwarded to Her Majesty. 
On the 21st of December Parliament adjourned for a long recess, in 

Tlie, Beginning of a New Era. 483 

order that the local Legislatures might complete their sessions dur- 
ing the interval. The only other notable political event which 
marked the close of the year 1867 was the death of Mr. Fergusson- 
Blair, President of the Privy Council, which occurred at Ottawa on 
the 29th of December. 

During the recess Mr. Howe applied himself with characteristic 
vigour and resolution to the extension and consolidation of the 
agitation in his native Province for the repeal of the Union. The 
local Legislature met on the 30th of January, 1868, and had not 
been long in session ere an address to the Queen was passed, praying 
for a repeal of " so much of the Act for the Union of Canada, Nova 
Scotia and New Brunswick as relates to Nova Scotia." Four 
delegates, one of whom was Mr. Howe, were sent to England to lay 
the address at the foot of the throne, and generally to urge the 
matter of repeal upon the Imperial authorities. The Canadian 
Government deemed it advisable to send over a representative to 
counteract these efforts, and selected Dr. Tupper for the purpose. 
The Doctor proceeded to England, and bestirred himself vigorously 
to refute the arguments of the Nova Scotian delegates. The mission 
of the latter was doomed to failure, and after considerable delay 
they returned therefrom with their minds partly made up to accept 
the inevitable. 

Meanwhile the Dominion Parliament re-assembled on the 12th of 
March, 1868. The Government were subjected to some adverse 
criticism on the part of the Nova Scotian members for having sent 
Dr. Tupper to England to oppose Mr. Howe and his co-delegates. 
The discussion on the subject, however, came to nothing, and even 
before it was ended the sessional legislation began to be actively 
pushed forward. A number of important practical measures came 
before the House of Commons, and were in a fair way to become 
law when an event occurred which for a time suspended all efforts 
at legislation, and sent a thrill of horror through the land. 

484 The Last Forty Tears. 

During the early weeks of this adjourned session no representative 
attracted a greater share of attention on the part of his fellow-mem- 
bers than Thomas D'Arcy McGee. Reference has been made in 
former pages* to the beneficial influence exerted over him by his 
altered surroundings. His mind had steadily developed, and he 
had become not only a loyal subject of his Queen, but an ardent 
enthusiast on the subject of Canadian nationality. He had learned 
to look back with shame and disgust upon much of his past life, and 
had long since cut himself adrift from associations which had once 
been dear to his heart. No man had done so much to place Fenian- 
ism in its proper light before his fellow-countrymen in Canada. 
No man had felt and expressed more abhorrence at the Fenian 
invasions to which our country had been subjected. As an inevit- 
able result he had lost popularity among the Irishmen of Montreal, 
many of whom were adherents of " the Brotherhood." At the last 
general election he had narrowly escaped defeat in Montreal West, 
a constituency where he had once been all-powerful. He had soon 
afterwards been struck down by a serious illness, from which he had 
barely recovered when the session opened in November. He had 
been brought very near to death's door, and had for the first time 
realized the frail tenure by which even a strong man holds his life. 
His convalescence was marked by great changes, mental as well as 
physical. Though still genial and good-humoured, it was noted that 
he seemed to be pervaded by a serious earnestness that at times 
bordered upon gloom. The old rollicking tone seem